David Boies challenged America’s lawyers to “bring the rule of law to its full fruition here in this country … to fulfill the goals and lofty rhetoric of our founding fathers,” as the keynote speaker at the Opening Assembly of the 2010 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
The rule of law was the assembly theme, as ABA members gathered in the Herbst Theater of the War Memorial Veterans Building, site of the signing of the charter of the United Nations in 1945.
President Carolyn B. Lamm pointed to ABA efforts from activities of the Section of International Law to such projects as the Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative, the Rule of Law Initiative and the World Justice Project as advancing United Nations goals to spread democracy based on law around the world.
Boies, co-counsel with Ted Olson in winning a federal district court ruling Wednesday that overturned California’s Proposition 8, cited “numerous challenges to the rule of law in our own country,” in applying that theme at home.
When our nation was born, it consisted of “wes” and “theys,” Boies said, with the “wes” being white male property owners and the “theys” comprising everyone else. As the national history unfolded, the circle of “wes” expanded to encompass more and more segments of society.
“We have an opportunity to expand the circle of ‘wes’ until there are no more ‘theys,’” said Boies, urging lawyers to work toward ensuring that “liberty and equality and protection of individual rights is something that every citizen equally enjoys.”