Leah Litman: Cautious Congratulations https://takecareblog.com/blog/uci-commencement-speech: ‘I... offer... cautious congratulations—congratulations on joining a profession that will offer you the tools and the credentials to do… just about anything you want to do.... But the congratulations I offer is cautious because as all of you graduates know, not all Presidents, not all Senators, and not all Supreme Court Justices have done great things; many of them have fallen well short of even doing good. So... I also want to caution you about the profession.... After Brown, it was lawyers—law professors who argued the decision was wrong because it favored blacks over whites... did not offer a “neutral principle” that gave as much consideration to white people as to black. It is lawyers who argue that courts cannot stop the President from rescinding the protections of the DACA program because it would do grave harm to the separation of powers.... It was lawyers who argued that the federal government cannot provide health insurance to Americans who cannot afford it. It is lawyers who argue that Congress cannot provide protections against breaking up Native American families, or that law schools cannot refuse to fund positions at employers who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. You can be whatever kind of lawyer you want to be. But... there is nothing about being a lawyer that requires you to do good. That has to come from you. There will be professional pressures that will make it difficult for you to do justice, even when you want to.... Do not be indifferent to the lives of people who are different from you. Otherwise you may become one of the people who says“don’t worry about the DACA case; if it’s rescinded it’s not like they’re going to deport the DREAM-ers.” Do not let false neutrality be the enemy of fairness. Question people who say that they are not separating families, they are just enforcing the laws. Laws can fix some injustices. But law can also create injustice too.... You have made the kind of commitment and put in the kind of work that will allow you to do justice. We all have to find ways to do justice.... Don’t wait until it is too late to do so... .#noted #2020-06-25
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