C. Harker Rhodes IV

2016 Temple Bar Scholar Report

On both sides of the Atlantic, the year 2016 made history. In the United Kingdom, the Brexit referendum shocked the country and shook the foundations of the European Union. In the United States, the presidential election exposed deep divisions over the future of our nation and its role in the world. It was a year where great political questions held the fixed attention of both countries, and where every person knew the answers would shape the future of our world. In short, it was a brilliant year to be a Temple Bar Scholar.

We arrived in London in October, just over three months after the Brexit referendum and a month before the American election. As soon as we began, the Temple Bar Scholarship provided us with unparalleled access to some of the leading figures of the British legal world. We met with Justices of the U.K. Supreme Court; with the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the Master of the Rolls, and judges of the Commercial Court and the Old Bailey; with leading members of the Bar Council, COMBAR, and the Inns of Court; with notable QCs from chambers throughout legal London; and with many others whose lives are devoted to British law. Each person that we encountered gave us a warm welcome, and spoke to us with impressive candor about the issues facing the Anglo-American world. It was a great privilege to join in those conversations; and more than that, it was a great honor to feel that the people with whom we spoke saw us as future partners in resolving these global questions.

One of the defining themes across our conversations was a sense of uncertainty. There was uncertainty over how Brexit came to pass, how it would be implemented, and what it would mean for Britain and Europe; and over  how the American election would end, how it would change our political discourse, and what it would mean for our nation and the world. At the same time, we also heard (and shared) a deep commitment to the fundamental values that would resolve those uncertainties. We found a common confidence that the democratic process and the rule of law would guide us onward through the challenges that we face today and will face in the future.

The Temple Bar Scholarship serves a vital role by fostering these conversations. Our month in London not only gave us an improved understanding of the British legal system; it also provided a powerful opportunity to build relationships with our counterparts in the English bar, and thereby lay the groundwork for future cooperation. I feel a deep gratitude to the American Inns of Court for sponsoring this extraordinary program, and to the U.K. Supreme Court, COMBAR, the Inns of Court, and all the other organizations that welcomed us during our time in London. It was an experience that I and my fellow Temple Bar Scholars will never forget.

C. Harker Rhodes IV is law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. He earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Stanford Law Review and senior editor of the Stanford Law & Policy Review. Rhodes received the Judge Thelton E. Henderson Prize for Outstanding Performance in Clinical Practice in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, and the Gerald Gunther Prize for Outstanding Performance in thirteen classes. He attended Harvard University as an undergraduate, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in linguistics. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Rhodes has worked as a summer associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and as an associate at Bancroft PLLC.