tv Vermont Law School Commencement Address CSPAN May 31, 2016 1:29am-1:54am EDT
continues. later, attorney loretto lynch. administrator gina macarthur told graduates at vermont law school to consider careers and public service. she also spoke about the efforts onion's climate change. [applause] >> thank you. thank you, students. you rock! hello vermont law school lawyers. i have to start by saying two things. first of all, congratulations to all the masters. you don't intimidate had all. i have one of those. i want to say up front, i am not a lawyer and really i have not
liked lawyers until people stop actually, sometimes i do. if i were to describe anxiety dream, it would be filled by lawyers. i am in washington living that dream today! [applause] >> is so it is really funny and it is an incredible honor to be here and hopefully i can share a few words of was them. but the most important one is to ask you to keep the mission that drove you to this school. never let it go because it is a mission that the world needs more people, especially people like you. i screwed it up. you have to fix it. [laughter]
theoday for you is culmination of years of study. you have learned how to plow under property law, to conquer taxes. you have learned how to be arbitrary and capricious. that is arbitrary and capricious! so before you start cramming for the bar or heading for the bar, do me a little bit of a favor and take a new second stoop real proud of your self stop really. fromre graduating not just any school. from vermont law school and vermont law school path energy law program has been ranked -- has117 of the last number one 17 of the
last 24 years, and it has never ranked lower than 2. you are amazing. [applause] gina mccarthy: and i know when i want to pick a longer that will make me most anxious, i go to you guys because you are going to do one of two things. you are either going to do exactly what i say, or you are going to tell me how i can get done what i want to do. either one is fine with me, just don't be the boring type of lawyer that tells me everything i can't do, because then i turn into charlie brown and it is "wha-wah-wah." so we are going to have great fun together. i know all of you are especially proud, your family, friends, especially those that are here today. they have supported you as you turned into absolute whiny faces, wondering if you would get through your first year being absolutely miserable. do yourselves a favor and clap for everyone who supported you along the way. [applause]
gina mccarthy: the good news is, they didn't is on you or disavow you, so it is time at this like to welcome you back to the human race. you have to leave this lovely little community and go face the big bad world again, but it is really the start of the next chapter in your life. what i really want you to do most is embrace that. just embrace it. the uncertainty is just great. stop dwelling on it, don't get anxious. actually, i would like you to live in that uncertainty for the rest of your life because it makes you so aware of your life and your place in it and constantly challenges you to do something different and better, to learn, to keep conquering. that's what you really need to do if you want to have a continuously rich life, is to live on the edge. i live on it every single day, unfortunately, and i all off on numerous occasions, but really,
for the past three years you've been learning the rules of the road. you been learning the legal boundaries that you need to know, but right now it's all about getting into that real-world and starting to test those boundaries, and starting to test those boundaries and starting to test your self. to see where life lead you. it's time to get creative, is time to think about what you can do to make sure that business as usual doesn't remain business as usual. your job is to always challenge that. [applause] gina mccarthy: and i will tell you that life gets most interesting when you decide not to settle for business as usual. that's where you definitely won't be boring. this school has given you all you need to actually get in the game now. it has opened doors for you. unless you think business as
usual is just fine, then start embracing the opportunities that are open to you, that this college has provided to you, and you must go out and make the world more just. you must go out and make our children healthier. you have to give us more sustainable options moving forward and you have to work hard to make the world a safer place. you came here to do that, you have to exit the same way. you want to exit the world the same way. continuing to drive that forward. and i'm so confident that you can do this. we have seen it in graduating classes from this college time and again. i cannot tell you how many lawyers at epa came from this school. actually, i lied.
i can. 69 are now currently working at epa. [applause] >> and you are indistinguishable from the other mission driven crazy 15,000 human beings at work at epa. so really think big. now is the time to get excited about what life has to offer, not to get anxious about it. just look at my boss, president obama. he was a constitutional law professor. how boring is that? [laughter] >> but he has not been boring. he's done pretty damn well for himself and for us. [applause] >> you know today for the first , time in this country, over nine in 10 americans have health insurance. today anyone in america can marry whomever they want to marry. [applause] >> students in the u.s. are now graduating high school at a higher rate than ever. our economy is in the midst of the longest streak of robert
onprivate sector job growth record with 14.4 million jobs added over 73 straight months. we are less reliant -- i like this one, we are less reliant on foreign oil than we have been in nearly three decades, and guess what? last december in paris, nations all across the world join together and made a commitment to act on climate. i am done with feelings, we've got to get action, and they are doing it. [applause] gina mccarthy: now, what made all of this incredible progress possible? a couple of things. one is i have a president who is as mission driven his you are. he is unwilling to settle business as usual. he has told me, gina, put on your sneakers because we are running across the finish line. there is no lame duckery in this administration.
right? none. and in the face of a congress that is, i would say, how to put this is the? reluctant to act. our president has embraced the authorities that are already embedded in our laws and has used that to advance policies that reflect all of our core values, what has made this country so great, what has given us the kind of life that we have enjoyed, and he has taken action to protect our kids, to protect our families, and to protect our planet. this has been an enormous gift to me to be part of this. if you think about it, just focus on what we've been able to do on climate change. just look at the historic actions that i have been lucky enough to be a part of, whether a work at the state, local, or the federal level.
we have been a driving force on climate for ages. finally, the federal government of the united states of america is leading this charge, not just a mystically, but internationally. we have the epa finding that never would have happened had it not been for massachusetts epa. i'm so glad that my commonwealth of massachusetts kicked the butt of epa on that one. you go where the mission drives you. it opened the doors to is such incredible strong climate action in this country, and that door will never be shut again. greenhouse gas standards for light duty, heavy-duty vehicles, methane, landfill, we finalized our clean power plan, the nation's first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, a few haven't read the briefs we submitted on that clean power plant, read it, it will restore your faith in government.
it is strong, it is powerful. we will win all the way up through the supreme court. [applause] our clean power plant change the dynamic in paris, and make no mistake about it, we are hanging on to that and we are going to continue to run forward. so this president is not one of those boring lawyers. he is a bit challenging. and i can say that working on climate change has never been boring. the cpp has generated two first of a kind legal decisions, interesting ones, one from the supreme court and a more recent one from the d.c. court. i will admit that i would rather be board every once in a while, but we will deal with these issues moving forward, and i'm excited about the work that we have to do. but we all can't wait for anything, to get the work done
that we need to do to keep our kids future secure, and to continue to make progress on public health, because after all, epa is a public health agency. that is what we do for a living. and we have real work to do and real challenges to face, and we are not going to wait for instructions from congress. they may never come. we are not relying solely on voluntary measures. they ain't getting the job done. environmental statutes have led to such tremendous improvements in quality of life for all of us. vermont law school has given all of you, whether you are a masters in understanding the policies that are necessary to move us forward, or understanding the toolbox and the knowledge and skill set that the law provides in this college
has given you. you are in an interesting position to be really part of this change moving forward. we cannot set this country on a sustainable course for the future. it is your time right now. you have to go with this. i agree, anxiety is bad, but embrace this anxiety. maybe don't know how to get it done, but keep moving. don't go back. circles are not fun, either. try to go forward. [laughter] gina mccarthy: you can figure it out. sniff it out. you will know where you are supposed to go. but you are the leaders. you are trained to harness the power of the law to move beyond the status oh. while in a democracy like yours, and i've been working in this democracy for 35 years now, it does move slowly, but it does move. and change can happen. it is built layer by layer,
action by action. hard work, science, the law. all of that is the foundation. and don't forget we are government of the people, for the people, and by the people. you've got to make people eventually demand the sustainable change that you think is necessary. so while you may be smarty-pants about where you want to go, smarty-pants about how to get there, you need to bring at least 1000 people with you when you want to accomplish it, because that's what the united states democracy demands. that's the system we live in. that is the system we love. that is your challenge. so tackle tough issues like climate. you can make a difference. you can make it work. there is no challenge more complicated than the challenge of climate change. it's about the fundamental way
that we chose to grow as a society. talk about the challenge of explaining why one degree matters. people think great, summer will, little earlier. no, not great. but i think people now get it. most people have gotten it. we have managed to explain it and also manage to understand that they are feeling it already. climate change impacts all of us. it's not just about glaciers and polar bears. it is way more personal. it's about our health, our economy, our national security. it's really about our moral responsibility to protect our kids' future. so even in d.c. we can make progress on things like climate change. and the exciting thing today is that we even have the pope on our side. [applause] gina mccarthy: and he rides around in this little fiat, or focus, depending on what country
he is driving around in, i think. but we also have incredible solutions today. it is a very interesting point in time for you to be graduating. not only have we managed to figure out how to double a gallon of gasoline, how far can go, we are producing a lot of vehicles that don't need it. i had the opportunity to be at the tesla manufacturing facility. i met with elon musk. i did not understand a word he said. so i just want you to to know that. he actually did not understand a word i said, either. [laughter] gina mccarthy: these things take time to build relationships. we will get along, as someone likes to say. tesla has already received 700,000 orders for their new $35,000 vehicle that is coming out next year. that will nearly triple the amount of electric vehicles on
the road in the united states. those are not just order forms. they come with a $1000 check. orders they are either , really stupid or really committed, or they should be committed, i don't know. they are competitive against fossil fuels. we have utilities that are buying the energy people are generating on the rooftops. we have a level of innovation that is unprecedented and our markets are shifting with those innovations as they come out in the market and make their way to human beings who care about these issues. in 2015, if you're worried about what other countries are doing, global investment in renewable energy hit a world record at $286 billion. that's more than twice the investment that the world spent on fossil fuel. so if you think it's just the u.s., you are wrong. faster the u.s. over industry added workerstry
faster, nearly 12 times the average economy. this is where the jobs of the future are. with a long-term extension of renewable tax credit, we can continue to see this moving forward. we are really at a time when you can go out there and make your own way in a world that is changing, and a world where that change is heading in the right direction, and you can make that change sustainable and move that forward, if you continue to have the mission that brought you to this wonderful school. look, you are the generation that is the most technologically savvy, globally aware, socially conscious generation in history. you are emerging at a time when there is incredible innovation and progress. add onto that the arsenal of
skills you have learned right here at vermont law school and you are already a force to be reckoned with. so don't slither into a job interview, go there with your head held high and get the job you want to get. [applause] gina mccarthy: as i end, i want to ask you a couple of rings and maybe give a little bit of advice. first i want to ask you to think about going into public service. i have been doing this for a long time. i will readily admit that you will never get rich, so if that is part of your mission, do not bother. i don't see that changing over the long haul stop but if you really want a rich live, public service will provide that to you. it's just amazing. [applause] gina mccarthy: so think about , the choices you have.
and noise 69, epa 69 vermont laws school alone out of about 1000 attorneys that run around doing remarkably crazy but successful things. the phrase dream team is how we describe our office of. we've been named best in-house environmental team for the last two years in a row. [applause] gina mccarthy: i think it is because they get an awful lot of practice, and i will account for much of that. sometimes it feels like david and goliath. i was looking at the clean power plan litigation. the list of attorneys representing the plaintiffs went to 22 pages. that is probably as many people as we actually have in epa. i guarantee there will be more lawsuits to follow. so if you think we will be sure to of the need for lawyers, you
are not on the right track stop we are going to keep doing important work, and in the united states, when you do important work, people will sue you. that's the way it works. [applause] gina mccarthy: my last two tiny pieces of advice, i want to give you just two small pieces. first of all, as you are thinking about your future and planning what you want to do next, make sure that as you are looking at opportunities that you are not writing off any that are not in your program plan. i know too many people who think i'm going here, and the next thing i'm going to do is there and the next thing is there. and they are blinded by incredibly interesting opportunities that they never thought they would want to take. if a door opens to you, walk through it. it may prove to be the most
interesting thing you have ever done and a shape your future forever stop -- and shape your future forever. so don't set a plan that blinds you to the really cool things that are out there. i will absolutely guarantee you i never planned to be epa administrator, and i plan to run like hell in january and go to the next interesting thing that comes along. because you never know your journey in life. so don't shut doors. the last thing is, be comfortable being uncomfortable. i know that sounds stupid. maybe it is, and i should probably quit here, but this is really sort of, i think about what the dean was talking about, anxiety is really actually great. it keeps you on your toes. if you go out and take a job that you know you can do, just because you know you can do it, then you are selling yourself short. i want you to take the job that
you are not sure you can do, because in that job, it's going to push you. it will force you to learn and grow. it will force you to confront new ideas and challenges. that's what you want to do every single time. so if you don't have anxiety in the evening, create anxiety in the daytime. give yourself credit. you have made it through one of the most prestigious law schools in the world. you have come here because you have a mission where you are going to be a vital cog in our ability to keep our planet safe and to keep my kids' future and my grandchildren's future stable and happy with an opportunity to be healthy. you came here to make this society more just. you will succeed as long as you challenge yourself, stick with
that mission, and remember where you came from and you never lose it. i'm so grateful that you came here, i'm so thankful that you got through it, and i am so excited to be able to hand over the world to this generation of leaders. thank you very much. [applause] >> on this memorial day, our presentation of commencement from across the country continues with attorney general loretta lynch. she spoke to the all female graduating class at spelman college in georgia. this is 20 minutes.