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Santa Clara University School of Law to Honor Two Human Rights Advocates at the Sixth Annual Diversity Gala
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct 15, 2009 – Santa Clara University School of Law will honor two outstanding leaders who have consistently fought for equality and human rights during their careers. The Santa Clara University School of Law Social Justice and Human Rights Awards will be presented Tuesday, October 20, to California Supreme Court Associate Justice Carlos Moreno and UnCommon Law founder Keith Wattley, J.D.’99 at the University’s sixth annual Diversity Gala: A Celebration of Diversity in the Legal Profession.
Justice Carlos Moreno was sworn in as associate justice of the Supreme Court of California on October 18, 2001, following his nomination by Gov. Gray Davis. This achievement capped a highly successful career track spanning from deputy Los Angeles city attorney to municipal judge in Compton to Los Angeles County Superior Court justice, and to federal district court judge.
In 1997, Moreno received the Criminal Justice Superior Court Judge of the Year Award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and in 2003 the Roger J. Traynor Appellate Justice of the Year Award from the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.
Justice Moreno is being honored as a judicial pioneer, as one of the state’s few Latino judges who broke barriers for other Latino lawyers at all levels of the judicial spectrum. In addition, his dissenting opinion in Strauss v. Horton, asserting the right of gay and lesbian Californians to recognized legal marriages has been hailed as a historic dissent by many civil-rights advocates and legal analysts. In addition, Justice Moreno chairs the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care.
Keith Wattley, J.D. ’99, is the founder of UnCommon Law, which helps prisoners challenge unlawful prison conditions, including the parole consideration process for lifers. He began advocating for the rights of prisoners and parolees as a law student intern at the Prison Law Office in 1998. As an attorney, Wattley has represented thousands of prisoners in both individual and class-action litigation involving mental health care, religious freedom, excessive force, prison infirmary licensing standards, medical access, gang validation, post-release civil commitment, parole for lifers, and visitation and parole revocation proceedings.
One of Wattley’s primary goals with UnCommon Law is to help educate and empower prisoners and their supporters to become effective advocates for themselves.
Besides recognizing the work of these two outstanding men for the cause of equality, social justice, and human rights, the Diversity Gala also provides students an opportunity to build valuable relationships with members of the legal profession.
WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Diversity Gala is sponsored by leading corporate law firms with title sponsor, Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, providing generous support.
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