tv UC Hastings Law Commencement- Joseph Cotchett CSPAN May 28, 2018 9:11pm-9:43pm EDT
germination. with proper care, the roots go down in the plant goes up, we are all like that seed. it to a lifetime of random events and consequential decisions to bring me to this moment with you. i hope it was time well spent. i wish you well in your legal career. i hope that you pursue justice, support the rule of law, stand firm on matters of principle, treat everyone with respect, cause and to consider the possibility that you may be mistaken. lead with purpose. always stay humble and kind. congratulations. [applause] >> steve scalise -- joseph commencement the speaker at his all my modern
campbell law school. -- uc hastings. --has also taken the stand joseph: all of the graduates, your friends, your family. i am one of your fellow alumni. you have had in the past governors, you have had senators, you have had it noted politicians, you have had 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 that is what happens when you get old.
[laughter] second, let me welcome you into the profession. when i say welcome you into the profession, what i mean is this is not just a profession where you get a graduate degree and to go out and make money. i'm going to talk about that. this is a profession that is under brutal attack. for those of you that know me, your sometimes terrified of what i'm going to stay with -- say when i stand up. . 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. is under attack from wall street, to our current president who sits in the white house. [applause]
this week, don't get me started going down that road. [laughter] this week, attorney general jeff sessions was in california. he came here to attack some of our district attorneys. he took on our governor of course. lawyer. he took on our attorney general on the issue of the wall and sanctuary issues on immigration. had ak on everybody that legal degree in practice law basically in california. that is what we are dealing with. get ready for it, 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. [laughter] i'm going to be as blunt as to say he is no more an attorney then my five-year-old who will be -- my grandchild who is five who will be a great attorney. [applause] attempts to put lawyers on the bench who have never been in a courtroom in their lives. who called out wall street and corporate america. , a gentleman was so embarrassing if you watched it on tv was in mississippi or alabama, he hadn't been in a courtroom in his life, but he was up for a district court appointment. can you imagine the justice he would render?
or, let's be fair about this, how about an attorney general from new york who goes out and crusades for women and then forward up and said what are you talking about? that is what we see and that is the problem today. friends, it is on both sides of the aisle. trust me. are television news are full of stories of lawyers who are falling by the wayside one way or another, but they don't see people what you are about to become. they don't see the great majority of lawyers that are now out there working as you just described you are going to work youthese fabulous, 150 of that will do pro bono work. are television news are full of playinglking heads,
down our profession. make a difference. i don't want to waste your time, i am going to be very short, that lawyers can make a difference. nerds, of which we have many in the bay area, they invent new technology, who do they need? they need lawyers to help them. god bless. [laughter] new medicines, doctors come out with new medicines. they need lawyers to make sure the fda approves it and it is safe and has wonderful warnings. good warnings. industry needs lawyers, some of you will all do this, that need contracts to save whatever their contracting for and they are not cheated. society can't exist without lawyers. moment,lk about, for a what separates most countries
from our country. do you really believe there is a legal profession -- if you pick up the new york times every day, do you believe there is a legal profession like we have in our country, do we had our problems, of course we do. people like utah and educated by people sitting behind me, who can change and continue to change the way our society should move forward. there is going to be a little tough line which for some of you, but i'm used to that. having been removed from a court of appeals for exciting a jury. [laughter] author, it is terrible but i do it -- there's a wonderful author, if you haven't read his pieces on how the were developed over the past 100 years, you should. ago -- and i hate
to say it, but there are some people in the audience who are older than 80 -- 80 years ago, he describes what happened in germany. how at that time, hitler's stated that it was his quoting,ake -- i am his goal to make every citizen realize that it is a disgrace to be a lawyer. that lawyers were the greatest single threat to a new world order. folks, that was 80 years ago. that is not that long ago, and as a result of that, 6 million people lost their lives. i'm not telling you that lawyers would have saved 6 million lives.
were lawyers would have done was create a society where that couldn't take place. course, remarkable of found in his book, is that he women, clear that communists and jews could not become lawyers. 1930'ss stated in the and 1940's. not many people stood up to him. that is the key to tomorrow's profession. up.tanding you pick up the papers every day, you look at the tv, you look at cnn, as i do, you read the new york times. for out of five people in this living to countries that do not have a legal system like you are getting ready to enter. there is one purpose of being a lawyer.
it is not to make money. doors ofsee that the the courthouses are opened to everyone on issues of public interest according to the rule of law. that is not complex. that is to keep our court system open. we have three aspects of our government, one of which is the judiciary, the law. that keeps, hopefully the other two in-line. underfundedst branch of our government. it should be the single most funded. is forot that it everyone. is 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. public interest law is what is happening right out there in the civic center. i'm going to give you some examples in a moment. i'm not interested in picking up the news are listening to the news at night about stormy daniels'lawyer. that is not a lot to me. a defamation suit of that nature does not interest me. things thatveral do every day, i wonder where are they. on what to give you three quick examples. i want to move into those mbs short as i can because i know you want those degrees. here is three quick examples. boston, it's not the tea party. taxeswas a revolt over
being paid at the time. not the tea party. there was a conflict in the commons, and the british troops were called out. this is 1770 just before, as you know, our independent. the troops were called out, colonists were killed, and the crown at that time agreed to prosecute, when i say prosecute, to hold a trial. they had two or there would be greater riots. they hadsh soldiers, said they were being attacked by the writers. the british soldiers could not get an american lawyer. we all know the story, but i just want to make sure that we understand where our profession is going. who stepped up? a lawyer by the name of john
adams, who was a poor lawyer doing nothing. he stepped up to defend them. in a trial where everybody was convinced they would be convicted, even though, i don't want to defend the british lawyers for killing col onoists, even though they were attacked, he got an acquittal for six of them and three were acquitted. he was ostracized as a lawyer. but stood up for what was right. this is in 1770. followed quickly, 40 years later in 1839, again, i'm going to be very brief. , by a lawyer of the name of roger baldwin. very interesting case. what did roger baldwin do? there was a ship coming from africa with slaves on it. 1839, focus back on the year. the slaves revolted.
or member, in the 1830's and weres, who owned america, rich slave owners and rich property owners. we have come a long way. although, one might dispute that. boat, they took the boat, the slaves took over the boat and landed in new haven, connecticut. afterent martin van buren reelection -- up for reelection at the time, decided that all of these slaves had to go back for their owners, because he wanted the votes from the southern states. roger baldwin, who was a nothing attorney, a very brave and bold attorney, gave up his practice and defended those slaves on the that they were african citizens who had been kidnapped, which is exactly the case. he tried the matter.
them all american citizenship, that is to say the right to stay in this country without the rich slaveowners taking them back. roger baldwin died penniless. in a popper's grave. by the way, before they did that, they did it all the way to the then u.s. supreme court and another jenin by the name of john quincy adams took it to the supreme court and got affirmed that the slaves had a right to stay in america. that was 1839. let's move quickly through this. what happens in illinois in 1850? lawyer by the name of abraham lincoln couldn't make any money because he didn't represent rich landowners. happened, he took a case one day of the widow with five children who ran a farm
because of some rich landowner is trying to take over her farm. he washer the farm, crucified by the rich landowners. hated something very smart, which runs equally -- he did something very smart, which runs equally as important as our profession and that is the free press. we all will do and all of you younger lawyers will learn how to do this, you will knows,re that the press as you take that step forward in life, that the public, through a 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 land and-- widow's
children and throw them off, everything sided and changed and went with abraham lincoln. so, we walked together, don't we? we walked to the courthouse but we make sure that the courthouse is not shrouded in secrecy. , 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 noise.ic there is 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? forget the word pro bono, do i get time, rather than 30 days vacation in hawaii, do i get time to go out and go down to legal aid, go look at someone who is being addicted from their house, go knock on the door, they don't have to come to you, i probably violate all kinds of ethics by doing that. [laughter] i don't wait for people to walk into our office, i go out, as all the lawyers in my firm do. we go out looking for bad people. [applause] i am sure that someone will write a letter to the state tomorrow and condemn me for what i just said. i don't care. look at the color of my hair. [laughter]
is, that we have to step up to the plate. and understand of the new challenges. you will agree, disagree, but i do not really care, because this is where my head comes from. to introduce me as a former paratrooper officer, yes, i was. i was proud to jump out of that playing with a weapon on my back. [applause] and let me tell you, let me tell you what is happening to the country that gun manufacturers are creating. they are creating safety problems for our children both on the streets and in schools. [applause] mr. cotchett: it is not just schools. , a figure, the other
day that the shooting on the streets, the average victim is 23, 24 years old. that is what is happening today to our children. how about child pornography? it is now rampant on the internet. jail for going to that? i am not sure, because silicon valley, who i love, has passed a lot of laws to keep them immune from lawsuits. i know. i fight it every day. in our care.ons those who would steal from jenners, senior citizens, and our public citizens -- who would steal from pensioners. drug manufacturers. pick up "the new york times" and program andhe trump how he is going to straighten that out. epidemic.
when you walk out of this auditorium, you will be fortunate if you do not step on a needle across the street. that is what we are down to with opioids, so what am i talking about? i am talking about the ability of you young people to take on those who would violate our clean air. let me give you one quick example. across the street, volkswagen was brought into the federal court. they were caught selling over 600,000 automobiles in the u.s. .ith fake emissions standards not a single executive went to jail. yet, our air was poisoned by faking emissions standards by a company as reputable as volkswagen. clean water.
just the other day, a company up in northern california was cited for dumping bad chemicals into .he delta for those of you who do not know where the delta is, it is just north of here, maybe 100 miles. they the trucks up there and dumped into the delta. you think that water does not come down here into the bay? lose athink no one will job? no one will lose a job here there will be some fines. and, by the way, they write it off as simply a tax loss. don't letour beaches, me get started about martin's beach. a billionaire goes out and buys some beautiful acreage down here on the coast, and after 70 years decides that he is going to close the beach to the public that has been with the
surfers, the fishermen using it for 70 years. he did that for four or five years. why? because, unfortunately, people do not want to go after him because he was a big contributor. that is out marked in speech case, now going to the supreme court. it may result -- that is our case, now going to the supreme court. public access was lost. stepped up. you have to take on these people. a woman's right to choose. [applause] do you realize my theyters, your sisters, if moved over to arizona, texas, or any of the states in the midwest could not get an abortion of a ?hild that they did not want
can you imagine the laws? and it is incumbent to you to make sure you have read that and run with that and make sure that our women are protected. [applause] [cheers and applause] how about our lesbian, gay, and transgender society? let me tell you this. you all know this. just two months ago, a young man was beaten almost to death where? california. over in the san joaquin valley. now, that amazes me. a state like california, which we talk about as being so progressive. into a store,lks whatever it is, and leaves almost dead because he was
identified as being gay. out for young people like you to help. look. i could stand here and spend a lot more time, telling you situations that are now developing. just not the legal aid society. you must get up. you must go out. paper andick up the see where is there in justice. it is not just walking into a legal aid office. many people cannot walk into a legal aid office. that is what your profession is all about now. are all of you going to do that? no. [applause] and i understand that. i do.
of us -- and many that was the beauty of going to hastings,ike berkeley, stanford, in the bay area here. there is a quality in the air that i think we breathe that makes us a little different that ,e really believe in justice and i will leave you with this thought. if it is not you, then who? for theoing to stand up people that need that help? they cannot walk into legal aid. you have got to walk out there. you have got to say to your ,uture employers, law firms "sure, i have a billing requirement. believe it or not, it is now 2200 hrs a year. it is preposterous. jones orose hours, mr.
ms. smith, how many hours are i allowed to go out and do some pro bono work?" that is the question i present to each of you when you interview. [applause] mr. cotchett: and, lastly, i'm going to do something i probably should not do. i have not told the dean, but i do not care. [laughter] mr. cotchett: because i am one of those silly people. i would like every graduate to get up, it'd just one minute, i will tell you why. you're going to stand up. you are being honored, but let me tell you who should be honored equally with you, and the dean alluded to it. seatedsee the people behind me? this is the faculty that is beyond anything -- well, it is a faculty that these schools have, and i would ask in closing that each one of the graduates stand
up and give them a fabulous applause. [applause] applause]d mr. cotchett: thank you so much. i will not see all of you again, but i hope to see some of you in there, speaking for pose a gonzalez who cannot speak for himself, or maria gonzalez, and i will be there beside you. thank you. [applause] [cheers and applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] : commencement speeches. to then the mee -- me
ceo, 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. eastern, apple ceo cook, governor john kasich, congressman luis on friday, jimmy carter, betsy devos, andesentative mark meadows, a mayor. this week in prime time on c-span and c-span.org and on the free c-span radio app. : coming up later tonight, more college commencement speeches. we will hear from oprah winfrey and congressman steve scully's. c-span, a conversation about women in politics from the university of chicago.
representative steve scal ise. announcer: issues that impact you. coming up tuesday, campaign 6anager for bernie sanders' 201 presidential campaign. he has a new book. and then group efforts on reforming the criminal justice system. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" tuesday morning. join the discussion. : coming alive on tuesday, the korea economic institute looks at u.s. military forces in south korea and rock 'n roll they play -- and what role they play. then, the importance of u.s. military alliances. from arena stage and washington, d.c., a discussion
about politics, race, and civil discourse. that begins at 6:30 p.m. eastern. security, former officials discussed the outer terrorism strategy, hosted by new america at 12:15 p.m. lauren underwood is a first-time congressional candidate running for the u.s. house of representatives from illinois. governmentfederal worker is the youngest african-american woman running for congress in 2018. new hampshire senator kelly ayotte were part of a panel discussion about the inrease of women candidates 2018 and the future of women in politics. the event was organized by the of politics in chicago. thank you for coming