This is the html version of the file
Google automatically generates html versions of documents as we crawl the web.

Page 1
Dr. Fulani, thank you for that lovely introduction.
Welcome to all of you. Not many people ever visit a federal
courthouse. That is because many people don't ever become
involved in legal cases and of those that do, the federal court system
handles less than 10% of the legal cases filed in the entire country.
Most cases are heard in state courts.

Page 2
Despite their smallness in numbers, federal cases have a great
impact in that our courts hear national and international
constitutional, commercial and criminal cases. This very
Courthouse or our other courthouse next door, the Thurmond
Marshall Courthouse, are the sites of cases you are reading about
every day in the newspapers like Worldcom, Enron, Martha
Stewart, and the World Trade Center bombings.

Page 3
Article III of the Constitution establishes the federal judiciary. It
requires that federal judges be appointed for life tenure and prohibits
Congress from ever reducing our salaries. Federal judges are
nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Page 4
The federal system has three tiers of courts. The first level is
the district courts which are our trial courts. The US District Court
for the Southern District of NY, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx
and all the northern counties short of Albany, shares this building
with my Circuit Court. The second tier, the circuit courts, hear the
appeals of losing parties in the district courts. The Second Circuit
has under its jurisdiction, six district courts scattered throughout
NY, Connecticut and Vermont. The third tier is the highest court in
the nation, the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court hears only
about 80 cases a year from around the country so circuit courts are
considered the courts of last resort for most parties who have lost

Page 5
I am personally delighted that you are celebrating your
DSY graduation in my Courthouse. You see, I come from a
background very similar to most of you. I grew up in a South
Bronx housing project, the child of first generation immigrant
Puerto Ricans to NYC. My dad died when I was nine. He never
graduated from 3rd grade. There were no lawyers or judges in my
family. I was the first of two generations of cousins raised in New
York City to graduate from college.

Page 6
For my family, the only exposure we had to courts was when one of
us was arrested. Needless to say, that experience did not lend itself
to a positive view of courts. Your parents are not going to like
what I am about to tell you but television was good for my
development as a child. I learned about lawyering and how much
good it could do as a profession from the first show on television
about a lawyer, Perry Mason. Perry Mason was a defense attorney
who always proved that his client was innocent. I also loved and
love reading, and reading led me to understand that the world was
much bigger and had many more choices than the ones I saw in my
everyday life as a child. So, at age 10,1 dreamed about graduating
from college and law school and even fantasized about becoming a

Page 7
Well, as you have heard from Dr. Fulani, I have lived my
dreams and more. I love my work. I wake up each morning excited
about what I do. I have a voice in interpreting laws that profoundly
affect people's lives. I admire my profession for all the good it has
and continues to do. The law and courts do not just prosecute people
for crimes. We resolve disputes people do not manage among
themselves; we protect the legal rights of individuals and
organizations - poor and rich. The work of courts has even
changed the course of history. For example, 50 years ago and a
month before I was bom, the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of
Education, ended legal segregation in the educational system in the
US. That decision obviously changed the course of my life and that
of everyone in this room.

Page 8
I have found great satisfaction through my work but it is
not the measure of my success. I consider myself successful
because I have lived my life with the dearest and most giving of
family and friends. They have taught and guided me, opened doors
for me, shared their advice and their success with me. They have
created my life with me. Sharing and creating my life with loving
and good people should have been the true dream of my childhood.
I am glad to say that it is the dream and reality of my adulthood.

Page 9
There are some people who are born with silver spoons
in their months. That is lovely for them. Most of us are not. I
understand that DSY has taught you that we are all born with the
ability to take charge of our own lives and to create the people we
want to become. DSY has also taught you that you are born with
the ability to let others work with you in creating a better world for
all of us. It has taken me most of my life, and sometimes painful
mistakes, to appreciate these lessons. It is wonderful you are
learning these valuable lessons so early in your lives.

Page 10
We all have to work hard to perform our lives, however. Nothing
comes without rehearsal and practice but sharing the creation of
who you are becoming with families and friends eases the process a
whole lot. I hope that as you leave the formal part of the DSY
program that you do not forget its lessons. I hope you hold on to the
memory of each time you have performed in this program and felt
good about yourself and about the group you have been a part of.
Keep that memory alive each time you feel down or discouraged.

Page 11
Let that memory fuel you to try again and seek advice whenever
things do not go right the first, second or endless times it won't.
Success does not ever come easy but continued effort does pay off.
Look around you. Look at me. Look at Dr. Fulani and Pam Lewis.
Look at all of the people who have led you in workshops. These
can be your lives. Dream them; then work hard to make them real.
Keep hope alive each day and you will make your life wonderfully
fun and meaningful no matter the obstacles you face. If you do this,
it is my expectation that someday I will be in an audience listening
to you talk about how much you love your life. By the way, when
one of you gets to the Supreme Court or the academy awards, invite
me so I can be in the audience.

Page 12
I will be here after tonight's ceremony. I want to meet
more of you and talk to you. Come up and say hello or ask
questions if you have any. I am truly delighted you are here and
very glad my Courthouse can host such an important event in your
lives. Thank you for coming.