tv UC Hastings Law Commencement- Joseph Cotchett CSPAN May 29, 2018 3:01pm-3:31pm EDT
i hope that you pursue justice, support the rule of law, stand firm on matters of principle, treat everyone with respect, pause to consider the possibility that you may be mistaken, lead with purpose, and always stay humble and kind. congratulations. .. he delivered remarks at his alma mater in san francisco. >> board members, faculty, all of you graduates, your friends, your family, i am one
of your fellow alumni. in the past you've had governors, senators, politicians, all types of people stand here and tell you how wonderful it is for you to be graduates. i stand here with no title at all. i stand here having sat where you set many years ago. i know my hair looks great, but yes, that's what happens when you get old. second, let me welcome you into the profession. when i say welcome into the profession, what i mean, this is not just a profession where you get a graduate degree and you go out and make money. i'm going to talk about that. this is a profession that is under brutal attack. for thosef you who know me,
you are sometimes terrified at what i'm going to say when i stand up. but i'm going to tell you that our profession today, as you just heard from these two fabulous lawyers today is under very serious attack. it's under attack from wall street to our current president who sits in the white house. this week, don't get me started going down that road. this week attorney general jeff sessions was in california. he came here to attract some of our district attorneys. he took on our governor who is a lawyer. he took on our attorney general on issue with the wall
and sanctuary issues on immigration, he took on everybody who had a legal degree in practice law in california. that's what we are dealing with, and get ready for folks because you are about to enter a profession that unfortunately is in the focus right now of some very serious future days. let me just give you an example of what you see when you turn on cnn tonight. i guarantee you will see that michael cohen received money from somebody else. i'm going to be as blunt as to say he's no more an attorney than my 5-year-old who will be a great attorney -- my
5-year-old grandchild. [applause] or the recent attempt to put lawyers on the bench who have never been in a courtroom in their life. the gentleman was so embarrassing, if you watch on t tv. he had been in a courtroom in his life but he was up for district court appointment. can you imagine the justice he would render, or, let's be fair, how about an attorney general from new york who goes out inc. and crusades f womennd then four step up and say what you talking about. that's what we see and that's what the problem is today. friends, it's on both sides of the aisle, trust me.
our television news are full of stories about lawyers who are falling by the wayside one way or another but they don't see people like you're about to see and they don't see the great majority of lawyers that are now out there working as you describe you are going to work or these fabulous, 150 of you that did all that pro bono work. on television news, heads talking heads playing down our profession. lawyers can make a difference but i don't want to waste your time, i will be very short but lawyers can make a difference. for computer nerds, of which we have many in the bay area,
who do they need? they need lawyers to help them with the new technology. god bless. new medicines, doctors, with new medicines, they need lawyers to make sure the fda approves it and it safe and has wonderful warnings. , good warnings. industry needs lawyers. some of you all do this. any contracts to save whatever their contracting for and are not cheating. society can't exist without lawyers, but let's talk about, for a moment what separates most countries from our country. do you really believe there's a legal profession, if you pick up the new york times every day, do you believe there's a legal profession like we have in our country. we had our problems? of course we do. it's young people like you, taut and educated by people sitting behind me who can change and continue the change
the way our society should move forward. this will be tough language for some of you but i'm used to that, having been reversed by court of appeals for exciting injury. [laughter] there's a wonderful author by the name of kenneth week. if you haven't read his pieces on how the law developed over the past 100 years, you should. because, just 80 years ago and i hate to say it, but there's some people here in the audience were older than 80, 80 years ago he describes what happened in germany. he describes how, at that time , hitler stated it was his goal to make every citizen
realize that it's a disgrace to be a lawyer. and that lawyers were the greatest single threat to a new world order. folks, that was 80 years ago. that's not that long ago, and, as a result of that, 6 million people lost their lives. i'm not telling you lawyers would've saved 6 million lives. what they would've done is created a society where that couldn't take place, but what was remarkable, of course in his book is that he made it clear that women, communists, and jews could not become lawyers. that was stated in the 1930s,
late 30s and 40s. not many people stood up to him. that's the key to tomorrow's profession, standing up. you pick up the papers every day. you look at booktv and cnn come you read the new york times. four out of five people in this world live in countries that do not have a legal system like you are getting ready to enter. there's one purpose of being a lawyer. it is not to make money. it's to see that the doors of the court houses are open to everyone on issues of public interest according to the rule of law. that's not complex, that's too keep our court system open. we have three aspects of our
government, one of which is the judiciary, the law, it hopefully keeps the other two in line. it is the most underfunded branch of our government. it should be the single most funded. it's not that it's for everyone, it's to make sure that the public interest has a way to go. public interest law is not the legal aid society. it goes so much further than that. i'm not interested in picking up the news or listening to the news at night about stormy daniels lawyer.
i will give you three quick examples and then i want to move into those in be as short as i can because i know you want those degrees. in 1770 in boston, it's not the tea party, there was a revolt over taxes being paid at the time. there was a conflict in the commons and the british troops were called out just before, as you know our independence. the troops were called out, columnist were killed and the
crown agreed to prosecute to hold the trial. they had two or there would be greater riots. the british soldiers were being attacked by the writers and cannot get an american lawyer. we all know the story i just want to make sure we understand where our profession is going. so who stepped up? a lawyer by the name of john adams who was a poor way or doing nothing, he stepped up to defend them and in a trial where everybody was convinced they would be convicted, even though i don't want to defend the british lawyers for killing some columnist, even though they were attacked, he got an acquittal for six of them and three were convicted.
he was ostracized, john adams, as a lawyer, but stood up for what was right. this was in 1770, followed quickly 40 years later in 1839, again i'll be very brief , by a lawyer by the name of roger baldwin, a very interesting case. what did roger baldwin do? there was a ship coming from africa with slaves on it, 1839, let's focus back on the year. the slaves revolted. now remember, in the 1830s and 40s who owned america were rich slaveowners and rich property owners. we have come a long way, although one might dispute that. they landed the vote, they took the vote and landed in new haven connecticut.
president martin van buren was up for reelection at the time and decided that all of these slaves had to go back to their owners because he wanted the votes for himself in the southern state. roger baldwin who is a nothing attorney and i don't mean to refer to him as a nothing attorney, he gave up his practice and defended those slaves on the basis that they were african citizens who had been kidnapped which is exactly the case. he tried the matter and he got them all american citizenship or that is to say the right to stay in this country without the rich slaveowners taking him back. roger baldwin died penniless in a helper's grave. before he did that they took it all the way to the then supreme court and another gentleman by the name of john
quincy adams took it to the supreme court and got it affirmed that the slaves had a right to stay in america. that was 1839. now look. let's move quickly through this. what happens in illinois in 1850? a young, gangly lawyer by the name of abraham lincoln couldn't make any money because he didn't represent rich land owners and how did it all happen? he took the case one day of a widow with five children and ran a farm because some rich land owner was trying to take over her farm and he got her the far farm. he was crucified either rich landowners but he did something really smart which is equally important to our profession, and that is the
free press. what he did, we all will do and all of you young lawyers will learn how too do this, you will make sure that the press nose as you take that step forward in life, that the public, through the free press, knows what is going on. when the press got their hands on the story of the rich people trying to take this little widowers widow land and children and throw them off, everything cited and changed and went with abraham lincoln. we walked together. we walked to the courthouse but we make sure that the courthouse is not shrouded in secrecy. we make sure that the press, the free press is there to tell us what you young people
are going to do tomorrow. the most important thing we can do on the profession tomorrow. look, let's get down to realistic noise. there are many of us young lawyers going out there and the first thing they want to know is what is the salary i will be paid? i hate to say this, but along with asking about the salary, could the next statement be, and do i get time to do pro bono work? that is, do i get time, rather than 30 days vacation in hawaii, do i get time to go out and go down to legal aid and look at someone is being evicted from house.
they don't have to come to you. i go out as all the lawyers in my firm do, i go out looking for bad people. [applause] i am sure someone will condemn me tomorrow for what i said. i don't care. look at the color of my hair. the reality is that we have to step up to the plate and understand the new challenges. let me give you some quick examples. you will agree, disagree, but i really care because this is where my head comes from. the dean introduced me as a
former paratroop officer. yes i was pretty was proud to jump out of that plane with a weapon on my back. let me tell you what is happening to our country that gun manufacturers are creating. they are creating safety problems for our children both on the streets and in schools. it's not just schools. i saw the gun shooting on streets, the average victim is 23 - 24 years old. that's what's happening to our children. how about child pornography that is now rapid on the internet. is anyone going to jail for that? i'm not sure because silicon valley, whom i love has passed a lot of laws to keep them
immune from lawsuits. i know i fight it every day. toxic pollutions in our air, those who would steal from senior citizens and our public citizens, drug manufacturers, pick up your new york times and read about the trump program for how he's going to straighten this out. the opioid problems, when you walk out of this auditorium you will be fortunate if you do not step on a needle across the street. that's what were down to with opioids. so what am i talking about? i'm talking about the ability of you young people to take on those that will violate our clean air. let me give you a quick example. right across the street volkswagen was brought into the federal court.
they were caught selling over 600,000 automobiles in the u.s. with fake emission standards. not a single executive went to jail, yet our air was poisoned by faking emission standards by a company as reputable as a volkswagen. clean water, just the other day a company in northern california was cited for dumping bad chemicals into the delta. they took the trucks up there and dumped into the delta. you think that water doesn't come down here into the bay? you think anybody will lose
their job? no one will lose their job. there will be a few fines that they will treat as the cost of doing business. by the way, you write them off as simply a tax loss. access to our beaches, don't get me started on martin's beach. a billionaire goes out and buys some beautiful acres down here on the coast and after 70 years of public use he decides they will close the beach to the public, he did that for for five years. why? unfortunately, people in our elected positions didn't want to go after him. it's now going to the u.s. supreme court. the result in a situation, our u.s. supreme court on both coasts and the great lakes,
public access is lost. what happened here? we stepped up, a group of us and we have to take on these people. do you realize my daughters, your sisters, if they moved over to arizona, texas or any other states and midwest. [inaudible] can you imagine the laws that prevent that and it's incumbent upon you to make sure you grab that and run with it and make sure that our women are protected.
how about our lesbian, gay and transgendered society. you all know this, just two months ago a young man was beaten almost to death in california in the san joaquin valley. that amazes me. a state like california which we talk about as being so progressive. a young man walks into a store and leaves almost dead because he was identified as being gay. the issues cry out for young people like you. i cod stand here and spend a lot more time telling you situations that are developing.
you must speak up. you must be cloud. you must pick up the paper and see where is there an injustice? it isn't just walking into a legal aid office. many people can't walk into a legal aid office. that's what your profession is all about. [applause] there are many of us, and that was the beauty of going to a school like hastings, berkeley, stanford and the bay area, there's a quality in the air i think we breathe that makes us a little different, that really believes in justice. i will leave you with this thought. if it is not you, then who?
who is going to stand up for the people that need that help? they can't walk into legal aid. you have to walk out there and say to your future employers, law firms, sure i have a building requirement, build a gem believe it or not it's 2200 hours a year which is preposterous, but of that, how many hours am i allowed to go out and do some pro bono work? that's the question i present to each of you when you interview. and lastly i will do something that probably i shouldn't do. i never told the dean, but i don't care. i'm one of those silly people.
i would like every graduate to get up and just a minute i'll tell you why. i want you to stand up. you are being honored here today, but let me tell you who should be honored equally with you and the dean alluded to it when he started out. you see the people sitting behind me? this is the faculty. that is beyond anything, well, 's a faculty that few hools have, and i would ask in closing, that each one of theraduate stand u and give them a fabulous applause. [applause] thank you so much. i won't see all of you again, but i hope to see some of you in court standing there,
speaking for josé gonzales who cannot speak for himself or marie gonzales. and i will be there beside you. thank you. [applause] >> commencement speeches all this week in prime time. tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern, "me too" movement founder, clarence thomas, starbucks coo roslyn gates and nikki haley. wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, hillary clinton, rex tillerson, james mattis and canadian prime minister justin trudeau. thursday at 8:00 p.m., apple ceo tim cook, governor john kasich, governor kate brown, and congressman gutierrez. on friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, jimmy carter, betsy
devos, representative mark meadows and atlanta mayor. this week in prime time, on c-span and c-span.org and on the free c-span radio app. this morning on c-span "washington journal", jeff weaver, bernie sanders 2016 campaign manager said the vermont senator is considering a run for the presidency in 2020. here's a look. >> will voters get another chance to vote for bernie sanders and 2020. >> motors in vermont will coming up in november. nationally, he is considering another run for the presidency and when the time comes, i think we will have an answer to that. right now he is still. [inaudible] >> you can watch "washington journal" every morning from seven until 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. coming up tonight on c-span, we look ahead to the midterm elections with campaign 2018.
we will take you to utah where republicans mitt romney and state lawmaker michael kennedy take part in a debate ahead of the june 26 primary election. the two candidates are running to replace retiring senator orrin hatch. you can see that debate live beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on our companion network. also tonight at 8:00 p.m., president trump campaigns on his make america great agenda at a rally in nashville tennessee. live coverage online at c-span.org. >> earlier this month, the national rifle association held its annual leadership forum in dallas. speakers included north carolina congressman richard hudson, nebraska governor pete rickets and the nra pete lash. we will show you part of the coverage from the forum. this is when our. >> , and he of you are proud carry permit holders? >> how many of you are sick and tired of thoseer