J. Reuben Clark Law Society

"If You Can Keep It: Holding Fast to Principle in a World of Rapid Change"

The Honorable Kent A. Jordan of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the J. Reuben Clark Annual Conference on the significance of “foundational principles” of government. Foundational principles are principles that are rooted in the Constitution. Judge Jordan emphasized the significance of lawyers’ roles in “holding fast” to foundational principles amid the rapid change and challenges of modern life. Lawyers can accomplish this by (1) explaining, (2) examining, and (3) excelling.

Explain. We have “the opportunity and obligation to understand foundational principles of government and communicate them to others.” Judge Jordan encouraged attorneys to educate others about foundational principles—such as the separation of powers—and “to prepare others to educate.” Lawyers should be willing to “push back” against those who demean the Founding Fathers and the blessings they have secured for our generation.

Judge Kent A. Jordan, middle with red tie

Examine. We should “examine society’s challenges with an eye toward common ground, understanding differing perspectives.” Whether labeled “conservative” or “progressive,” Latter-day Saints should be among the most tolerant of people. Judge Jordan spoke of the literary character Atticus Finch and of J. Reuben Clark as role models in the context of “examining.”  

Excel. Our abilities to hold fast to foundational principles are magnified as we strive to excel in the things that we do. Excellence is a great goal in and of itself, but “it doesn’t just happen.” It is a habit.

Finally, throughout his remarks, Judge Jordan expressed appreciation for the rich history of Philadelphia in the context of foundational principles.

By Megan J. Nelson, Media Committee    


Posted: March 31, 2017