SAN FRANCISCO, November 21, 2001- The San Francisco and California La Raza Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association and Mayor Willie L. Brown, City of San Francisco hosted a celebration in honor of California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno Tuesday, November 27, at San Francisco's City Hall. Justice Moreno, appointed by Governor Davis, who served on the federal bench in Los Angeles beginning in 1998, becomes the first Latino justice on the high court in 12 years and only the third in its over 150-year history.
Justice Moreno, sworn in last month replaces the late Justice Stanley Mosk who served 37 years on the Supreme Court bench. Justice Moreno is the only Latino and sole Democrat on the seven-member bench. The 52-year-old Moreno, son of Mexican immigrant parents who owned a Los Angeles produce wholesale store, was born and reared in East Los Angeles. "I promise to represent the court in a fair and dignified manner, bearing in mind that I must always follow the Constitution and laws," said Justice Moreno.
Bay Area, statewide and national legal community honored and gave a warm welcome to Justice Carlos Moreno. "This is a proud and joyous occasion for all Californians," stated Mercedes U. Moreno, President of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association. "Justice Moreno represents the best of the American dream. He is an inspiration to young people and will prove to be a tremendous asset to the California Supreme Court. He has had a stellar career, is a pillar of the community, and from the bench will continue to provide leadership."
The Latino legal groups, who have worked tirelessly for Justice Moreno's appointment, believe that a lack of diversity on the courts in California limits the voice of the Latino community and reduces the court's credibility with the public.
"Judges bring their life experiences to the bench," said Christopher Arriola, President of the California La Raza Lawyers Association. "Justice Moreno brings a diverse perspective to the Court and our organization strongly believes that the courts should be representative of all Californians. We are honored to have Justice Moreno as the voice of California's Latino community on the High Court."
Arriola continued: "We applaud what Governor Gray Davis has done. With this appointment he has given the Latino community restored hope in future representation in the most important aspect of our justice system, the judiciary."
"The Governor has made an excellent choice of appointing Justice Moreno," said Cal Gonzales, Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association. "Justice Moreno has received the highest rating from the entire 29 member State Bar Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) Commission. And we are also grateful to the Governor for diversifying California's court system."
Justice Moreno is the first Latino on the Supreme Court since Justice John Arguelles departed in 1989 and prior to that Justice Cruz Reynoso who served from 1982-1987. Moreno graduated from Yale University and received a law degree from Stanford Law School in 1975. In 1998, Moreno was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton and was confirmed by the Senate 96-0. In 1993 Republican Gov. Pete Wilson appointed him to superior court, and in 1986 he was appointed to the L.A. County Municipal Court bench by Gov. George Deukmejian.