With his death Tuesday night at age 77, Sen. Ted Kennedy leaves a legal legacy that spans not just decades but touches nearly every major area of the law. The Kennedy imprint, either as original sponsor or a leading proponent, is on the nation’s landmark voting rights laws, its workplace discrimination laws, immigration reform, judicial nominations and other major issues.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and, later, its chairman from 1979 to 1981, he pushed successfully for greater diversity in nominations to the federal courts. He participated in the nomination hearings for every member of the current Supreme Court with the exception of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, beginning with Justice John Paul Stevens in 1975 and ending with Justice Samuel Alito in 2006.
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