Speech: Opening Address

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“I imagine that many law students who arrive here at this famous law school in Philadelphia, the city that hosted our nation’s Constitutional Convention, dream of litigating epic constitutional cases before the United States Supreme Court. For the students here, perhaps learning the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure may not be very high on your priority list, but you will find out—as I found out—that command of procedure is essential to a litigator’s prowess.

“More broadly, the way we fashion procedure is pivotal to the quality of justice our system provides. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas said it well when he wrote that, “Procedure is the bone structure of a democratic society.”1 I’m going to ask you to remember two things from this speech. That’s the first one: ‘[p]rocedure is the bone structure of a democratic society.’ In short, procedure is power.”

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