Bill Clinton: Less 'Them,' More 'Us'

Emory Law's Centennial Gala speaker calls for greater unity, civility, and respect for the rule of law

By Maria M. Lameiras

Clinton

Gary Meek

COMMANDING PERFORMANCE “We have to have a way of relating to each other so that we expand the definition of ‘us’ and shrink the definition of ‘them,’ and we are all prepared to live under the same set of rules.”

Emory’s School of Law celebrated its centennial anniversary in April with a special event featuring former US President Bill Clinton as the keynote speaker.

In a speech focused on a hopeful future, Clinton noted that the school’s core mission holds promise for untangling the social and political challenges facing the nation.

“If you believe in the rule of law, you must find a way to build up the positive and reduce the negative forces of our interdependence,” he said.

Clinton also praised the diplomacy of former US Senator Sam Nunn 61L 62L, who was awarded Emory Law’s Centennial Lifetime Achievement Award. The gala was the culmination of a series of anniversary events that included recognition of the Emory Law 100, alumni and faculty selected for their extraordinary contributions to the law school and the world.

At the heart of legal education, Clinton told the 1,200 guests, is “the goal of equal, fair, and honorable treatment.”

“You don’t have to be a Republican or a Democrat, but you do have to decide, if you live in a free society: Government and rule of law, should it be the same for all?” he said. “I think unity works better than division, cooperation works better than conflict. . . . That’s what I believe. You don’t have to believe that, but if you do believe it, our law schools and legal education—and a way of giving every side its hearing and listening with an open mind, as Sam said—surely offer America a model of how we might get this country back on track.”

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