U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan heads to Rhode Island later this month to help mark the 350th anniversary of the state’s Colonial Charter.
Kagan is scheduled to speak at a forum in Providence sponsored by Roger Williams University, as part of a year-long series of events celebrating the historic significance of the 1663 charter.
One of just a handful of women to serve on the nation's highest court, Kagan is expected to discuss the Rhode Island Charter's importance to the history of the American judicial code. The document is one of the first in the country to promise religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
Governor Lincoln Chafee says he invited Kagan to speak at the forum, and he is pleased she accepted the invitation.
“We celebrate the 350th anniversary of our Colonial Charter in the same year we are enacting equality in marriage” Chafee said in a written statement announcing Kagan’s visit. “Rhode Island should be proud of its place in history as a trailblazer in civil rights, including freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.”
Students from Roger Williams Law School will attend the forum as part of their orientation. The school says Kagan is the eighth member of the current Supreme Court to speak at a Roger Williams-sponsored event. Later this year, Roger Williams is expecting a visit from another prominent female justice, retired Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O’Connor.