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Retirement celebrations are odd events. They are a mixture of joy and sadness, and that is emphatically true of those in honor of Justice Brennan.
Not since the retirement of Justice Holmes in the early 1930s has the nation been more generous in its tributes to a retiring justice. Justice Brennan served the Court for nearly thirty-four years and now, at a mere 84 (Holmes was 90), retires with a grandeur that is indeed stunning. In this, there is reason for joy because the Justice fully deserves all the accolades and honrs that have been bestowed upon him. I rejoice in Brennan's glory and feel the pleasures of the moment, but I would be less than honest if I did not also acknoweldge my sadness on this occassion, not just for the Justice who so loved his work, but even more for the law. His retirement imperils the achievements of the Court in new and profound ways.
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