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U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. reminds SCU law graduates to support and defend the Constitution

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 21, 2005 U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. reminded Santa Clara University law graduates of the importance of judicial independence and the roles that judges play in society. Speaking at the 2005 commencement ceremonies for the Santa Clara University School of Law today, Damrell asked the newly minted graduates to take a walk back in history and understand the legacy of the United States Constitution and their role and obligation as lawyers to support and defend the Constitution. 

Damrell, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree, asked the graduates to remember what lawyers have done for the country since the U.S. Constitution was ratified more than 200 years ago. “For many Americans the Constitution has become a historical document sealed in a glass case on display in Washington,” he said. “The Constitution we live under was bequeathed to us at great sacrifice, and it is our obligation to bestow its promise upon succeeding generations.”

Addressing the recent controversy about “activist judges” he reminded graduates that the issue of an independent judiciary is the most important constitutional debate of their time. “A handful of 30 something lawyers who met in Philadelphia 218 years ago taught the world a most profound civics lesson that changed the course of history. We need that lesson to be taught again,” he said.

At the ceremonies, 296 J.D. degrees and 20 LL.M degrees were awarded. Fifty three percent of graduates who received their degrees are women. In addition, some graduates received certificates in public interest and social justice law, high tech law, international high tech law, and international and comparative law.

Today’s law commencement ceremonies also featured student awards.  Mia Giacomazzi received the outstanding law graduate award. The award carries a prize of $5,000 made possible through a gift from the Mabie Family Foundation.

The SCU School of Law is one of the 5 most racially and ethnically diverse in the U.S. in 2005, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Out of 200 nationally accredited law schools, only three were considered as having a more diverse student body. (The magazine’s diversity index is based on the total proportion of minority students, not including international students, and the mix of racial groups in 2004-05).

Ceremonies for the 154th SCU undergraduate commencement will be held Saturday June 11, at 8.30 a.m. Tim Russert, managing editor and moderator of “Meet the Press” and political analyst for the NBC Nightly News and the “Today Show” will speak at the Saturday morning undergraduate commencement at Buck Shaw Stadium at SCU.

Edward W. (Ned) Barnholt, former CEO of Agilent Technologies, will speak at the Santa Clara University graduate commencement ceremony on Fri., June 10, 7.30 p.m. in the Leavey Center at SCU.

About the SCU Schoolof Law

The SCU School of Law, founded in 1912, combines a tradition of excellence with a commitment to ethics, diversity, and social justice, and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Many of its 968 students work in criminal and civil community law clinics, and may earn certificates in intellectual property law, international law, or public interest law. Law degrees may be combined with MBA or master’s in taxation degrees, and the law school offers lawyers master’s degrees in international law and intellectual property law.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,213 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at


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