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Eric Holder is the first African-American to serve as US Attorney General, with his six-year tenure being the fourth longest in history. He served as legal advisor to then-Senator Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign, later becoming a one of three members on his vice-presidential selection committee. Cardozo contributed many definitive rulings in common law procedures, especially in torts and contract law, during his nearly 25 years practicing law.


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He wrote texts that became integral in the legal system, such as "The Nature of Judicial Process. Robert L. Before her time in public office, Abzug earned her law degree from Columbia Law in , going on to tackle civil rights cases for over two decades. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Today, it is worth remembering — and mentioning — that our Constitution was not created in a vacuum. It was, in fact, created to correct flaws in the legal framework that had been established by the Articles of Confederation.

Trust me, over the past year, I have, too.

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Two hundred and twenty three years ago today — May 14, — a motion was made in Annapolis, Md. That summer, as the story goes, the wise old men of the Republic gathered to draft what would, despite its imperfections, become the greatest legal document in the history of mankind. These framers rightly believed that the Constitution would provide a framework to extend their commitment to justice and opportunity for all. And, we have been taught, it was these elder statesmen who hoped it would serve as a shining example for all the world. Those who supported the Constitution, the Federalists, were on average at least a decade younger than their opposition.

Several leading Federalists were under 35, and more than a few of them were in their twenties.

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At 44, the oldest Federalist was George Washington. And many of his contemporaries, like Columbia University alum, John Jay, hatched their ideas about a strong, democratic central government during their early years spent studying the law. Young people, it seems to me, are uniquely qualified to re-imagine — and in doing so, to reinvigorate — the law and the world. And it is especially true when you examine the conception and creation of our civil rights laws.

Several weeks ago, I traveled to Greensboro, N. It motivated several Columbia law students to take part in Freedom Rides across Mississippi. It paved the way for Martin Luther King, Jr. The exceptional commitment and capacity of young people, especially those willing to devote their legal skills and training to the struggle for equal justice and opportunity, always has been — and will continue to be — essential in moving our Nation forward.

Columbia Law School has a long tradition of graduating students unwilling to sit on the sidelines of history or miss an opportunity to work toward, and fight for, justice. Take Bella Abzug, class of Or take Judge Robert Carter, class of And I understand that one of our other famous alums, Theodore Roosevelt, was in such a rush to make an impact that, after his first year on campus, he dropped out to pursue a life of public service. Think about what he might have made of himself if he had stayed here like you all and graduated. Many of you will follow in this great tradition.

In fact, some of you already are. Brittani Kirkpatrick began a new law journal that explores the intersection of race and law, helping to chart the future of this still-burgeoning field. Justin Steil is fusing his background in urban planning with his legal education to help determine the future of land-use laws in a rapidly changing housing environment.

And Janitra Supawong is helping to transform immigration and domestic violence law around the country. Each of these students, and many others, are harnessing the power of law to serve as an instrument of change.

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Of course, you can do this in any number of ways. And you will, for this is a terrifically accomplished and diverse class. One in three among you is a minority student. You represent almost every state and more than 50 countries. Fifteen percent of you already have advanced degrees. Not only are you scholars, you are also soldiers, cancer survivors, artists, rock stars, religious leaders, entertainers, bankers, novelists, journalists and public servants.

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Any basketball players? And, now, you are entering an uncertain world — one burdened by economic recession but showing signs of recovery.


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It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Kaitlyn Yarborough. Franklin D. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Theodore Roosevelt.

Caroline Kennedy. Eric Holder. Benjamin Cardozo. Bella Abzug.

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