John Broderick, dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, is a Democrat. Warren Rudman, the late U.S. senator from New Hampshire, was a Republican. Nonetheless, Broderick led the effort to create at UNH Law the Warren Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy, which is to open this fall. Is Washington paying attention?
Rudman made his name promoting balanced budgets and bipartisanshp. Though there were many issues on which we disagreed with Rudman (and Broderick, for that matter), Broderick's plan for the Rudman Center strikes us as something of a model for recognizing our best public servants.
It is customary for long-serving politicians to have a public building named after them. This often happens because so many long-serving politicians do little more than bring home the bacon. Others leave bigger legacies. To the extent that those legacies are positive, the better idea is to lengthen them. Establishments like the Rudman Center do that far better than a mere building name does.
Students who go through the Rudman Center will be "living, breathing and ongoing, and your legacy will matter in a very different way than it does etched into the edifice of the federal courthouse on Pleasant Street," Broderick said he told Rudman.
Yes, there is a federal courthouse named after Rudman. The UNH Law center is more fitting. Naming a courthouse is easy, politically speaking. Continuing someone's work to better the republic is hard, and expensive. Broderick and many others took on that task because someone needed to, and they were not going to leave it undone. That in itself is a lesson worth imparting.