Sumner Canary Memorial Lecture
Title: On Being Predictably Unpredictable
A judge should aspire to be perfectly predictable with respect to his or her methodology. That methodology, broadly described, is one of formalism – which manifests itself, most notably, in an originalist approach to constitutional cases and a textualist approach to statutory and regulatory cases. But if applying that methodology properly and honestly, the results of decisions should be at least somewhat unpredictable.
Judge Kevin C. Newsom is a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He sits in Birmingham, Alabama.
Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Newsom was the head of the appellate practice group at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and, before that, the Solicitor General of Alabama. As a practicing lawyer, Judge Newsom argued four cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, and nearly 40 more in the United States Courts of Appeals and state supreme and appellate courts.
Judge Newsom graduated summa cum laude from Samford University and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an articles editor on the Harvard Law Review. Following law school, Judge Newsom clerked for Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice David H. Souter of the Supreme Court of the United States.