Some Hope for Law Students

Dan Canon
11 min readApr 20, 2023
Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

This is an abridged version of a keynote address I delivered at the University of Kentucky’s OUTLaw chapter banquet earlier this year. It’s a tough time to be a law student right now, especially if you’re in Kentucky’s LGBTQIA+ community. I wanted to tell students how powerful they truly are, and to give them a vision for the future that is both hopeful and realistic. This isn’t just for law students and lawyers, but for anyone who is having a hard time seeing a path forward.

In 2016, after Trump got elected, I got a lot of questions about “what will happen to marriage equality.” I’d like to read you a little excerpt from an op-ed that I wrote at the time to address those questions:

“For President Trump to undo the progress made by Obergefell and its predecessors, a number of improbable things would have to happen. First, Trump would have to appoint at least two Supreme Court justices to make any real difference. . . . Suppose, however, that one of the older pro-LGBTQIA+ justices, such as Justice Kennedy or Justice Ginsburg, were to die, or retire, during Trump’s tenure? Even then . . . the Court would then have to reverse its own interpretation of the Constitution (and) an opinion like that would threaten the legitimacy of the Court, something which troubles even the most conservative of jurists.”

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Dan Canon

Civil rights lawyer, law professor, and high school dropout. Writes about the Midwest, class struggle, and the untold horrors of the legal system.