In Abrams Lecture, Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings discusses her sweeping public service mission

Delivering the 26th annual Attorney General Robert Abrams Public Service Lecture on September 12, Kathy Jennings, Delaware’s attorney general, emphasized the importance of role models, relating how several important figures in her life inspired her to pursue her ambitions. Her first and most important role model, Jennings said, was her mother, who raised her as a single parent. Then, as a young lawyer, Jennings served as a prosecutor in the Delaware Department of Justice, where she was only the second woman in the criminal justice division. The other woman in the division, Jennings said, became her mentor, teaching her how to try a case.

Kathy Jennings
Kathy Jennings

Jennings eventually rose to become Delaware’s state prosecutor, chief deputy attorney general, and, in 2019, attorney general. While her office has a broad jurisdiction, she spoke about her particular passion for criminal justice reform: “If someone commits a violent crime, I am going to prosecute that crime…aggressively and vigorously. But I am also going to make sure that that person’s constitutional rights are protected.”

Watch the video of the event:

Selected remarks:

“I get to help people…in their everyday lives, and help them across so many areas of the law. It is the best use of my legal skills that I can imagine.” (video 22:49)

“I think there are a lot of people out there who are quiet, who are the majority, who care deeply about our democracy, care deeply about our rights. They’re just not screaming and shouting about it, and so when we can, we have to try to build consensus. And we have to have the courage to sit down at the table with people who don’t necessarily agree with us.” (video 32:52)

Posted November 21, 2022