Retired Supreme Court justice who Kavanaugh seeks to replace speaks to Sacramento students

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The retired Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh aims to replace was in Sacramento talking to kids about the constitution. (KGO-TV)

The man Brett Kavanaugh is hoping to replace returned to his hometown of Sacramento Friday to talk with high school kids about the constitution. But, the Capitol Hill confirmation battle was never far from anyone's mind -- even if they were reluctant to discuss it

Retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was born and raised in Sacramento and practiced law here. On Friday, he addressed high school students about two of his favorite subjects: "We want you to know about the past, about the Constitution," he said.

RELATED: 'A lesson in real time' Law students talk about legal impact of Kavanaugh hearing

Kennedy served on the nation's highest court from 1988 until this past summer. Brett Kavanaugh is one of his former clerks and is now seeking his mentor's seat on the court..

Getting a Supreme Court justice to comment on current political matters is nearly impossible. But Justice Kennedy Could have been referring to Thursday's tense day of confirmation hearings when he told the young people: "Studying the Constitution, talking about the importance of civility and the decent civil discourse, that's necessary if the Constitution is to survive."

WATCH: Key moments from the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing

Civility seems to be a hot topic in legal circles these days. Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California's Supreme Court, said this when asked about the televised spectacle of these hearings: "We are still bound by transparency and civility and integrity. But I do think with media and so much interest and so much at stake here, it's not surprising -- although many would find it disappointing."

Including some of the high school students. Benicia High Junior Dahlia Elgonemy won first prize at Friday's event for her essay on the 14th Amendment. She's been following the hearings and is pleased there will be an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

"It's definitely necessary," Elgonemy said. "This is going to affect the course of our nation for years to come."

RELATED: Sen. Harris walks out of Kavanaugh hearing in protest

The tone of the hearings has certainly changed since Kennedy was nominated to the high court in 1988. News reports from the era showed both sides viewed him as reasonable and fair, and he was confirmed by a 97-0 vote.

For more stories related to the Kavanaugh hearing and Christine Blasey Ford's testimony, visit this page.

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