In this essay, Professor Pomp reflects on Richard Kay’s influence on UConn, the legal world, and on Pomp’s life.
Professor Kay was a key player in Dean Blumberg’s plan to elevate UConn to national prominence. And Pomp, after spending one day with Kay while visiting UConn for the first time, was eager to join the team.
Professor Kay was an early pioneer of the approach to constitutional interpretation known as “originalism.” Though an unpopular view in the early days of Kay’s writings, his perspective was later vindicated: originalism has since burst into the mainstream.
Pomp describes Kay’s scholarship as straight-forward and unpretentious. He lived his core beliefs with consistency; he quit teaching constitutional law when it had been emptied of content, eroded by a flood of balancing tests. He was also known by many as the funniest person on the faculty. For Pomp, Kay’s office served as a source of laughter and good feelings.
Pomp and Kay collaborated on numerous, high-profile projects. Together they motivated the creation of New York’s independent tax court. And in response to the effect of tax-exempt property on Hartford’s tax base, they drafted proposals resulting in landmark legislation that required the State to pay municipalities for taxes lost due to exempt colleges and hospitals. Also, they worked to convince the State legislature, on behalf of retailers, that gift cards should not expire.
Despite entering retirement, Kay has continued with his scholarship. Pomp suspects that Kay, a lifelong intellectual, will never fully retire from academic work.
Pomp, Richard, "Rick Kay: And Now for the Rest of the Story" (2021). Faculty Articles and Papers. 538.