RNLA Tribute to C. Boyden Gray

Our condolences to the family of C. Boyden Gray on his passing. He was a friend to the conservative legal movement and a defender of the rule of law. Ambassador Boyden Gray spoke at the RNLA National Policy Conference often, most recently in 2021. But we remember him best as the 2008 recipient of the Hon. Edwin Meese III Award and for giving the keynote address at our 2008 National Policy Conference. (Pictured below with fellow Meese Award winner Dick Wiley.)

Of course, Boyden was involved with many other groups in D.C. on the right. For as the Federalist Society stated today in their tribute:

[W]e are grateful for his dedication to doing what was right and in the service of the nation, even if adverse to his own interests.

Boyden was relentlessly committed to the law and spent a lifetime working to support the principles he believed in. When he was attacked for following those principles, it often became grist for one of his hilarious dinner stories.

The perfect example of all this is how RNLA came to know him, as the founder of the Committee for Justice. 

Boyden founded the Committee for Justice because of the outrageous treatment of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. For the first time ever, Democrat Senators were filibustering and obstructing U.S. Circuit Court nominees. In the cases of nominees such as Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown, Democrats seemed to be opposing them because they feared they might be the first Hispanic and Black female Supreme Court nominees. Other nominees like Priscilla Owen and William Pryor were considered qualified but "too conservative." 

Boyden undoubtably was also likely motivated by the Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, some of the ugliest and most malicious confirmation hearings in history. Justice Thomas was a man he helped select for the Court—he was going to fight back.

Thanks to Boyden, most of those filibustered nominees were confirmed, and today, we have a conservative Supreme Court. Although, we would have had conservative Supreme Court much sooner if President George H. W. Bush had taken Boyden’s advice and nominated Ken Starr and not Justice Souter to the Supreme Court!