Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Page 3


Justice Moreno Honored by Yale Alumni Association


By a MetNews Staff Writer


California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno has been selected by the Association of Yale Alumni to receive its highest award, the Yale Medal.

The association announced Friday that Moreno and four others were this year’s recipients of the award, which it confers “to recognize and honor outstanding individual service” to the university.

Since the medal’s inception in 1952, the association said, it has been presented to 272 individuals, “all of whom not only showed extraordinary devotion to the ideals of the University, but also were conspicuous in demonstrating their support of Yale through extensive, exemplary service on behalf of Yale as a whole or one of its many schools, institutes, or programs.”

The association commented that Moreno—who graduated from the university in 1970 before attending law school at Stanford—was chosen because he “has served Yale with distinction for close to four decades in many volunteer roles.”

It specifically credited Moreno’s revival of the Yale Club of Southern California, his service on the association’s Board of Governors and his 15 years as co-chair of the Central Los Angeles Yale Alumni Schools Committee.

The association also remarked that Moreno, “[a]s mentor and counselor…has shared his love for Yale with generations of Yale students, faculty and staff, inspiring in them a similar commitment to leadership and service to Yale.”

The award’s other recipients are Stephen Adams, Frances Beinecke, Charles D. Ellis and Eve Hart Rice.

Moreno was admitted to the State Bar in 1975 and spent four years as a Los Angeles deputy city attorney, prosecuting misdemeanors and handling consumer fraud cases. He then became a commercial litigator at Kelley, Drye & Warren.

He left that firm in 1986 when then-Gov. George Deukmejian appointed him to the Compton Municipal Court, where he was presiding judge in 1989 and 1990. Deukmejian’s successor and fellow Republican, Pete Wilson, elevated Moreno—a Democrat—to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1993.

Moreno was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1998 to serve as a U.S. District Court judge and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. In 2001 he gave up his lifetime federal judgeship to accept Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’ nomination to the state’s high court.

Moreno is the only Democrat on the California Supreme Court and is widely regarded as its most liberal voice. Last year he signed on to the court’s 4-3 ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state. Voters later banned gay marriage in a ballot initiative, and Moreno was the sole dissenter when the court upheld the initiative earlier this year.

He was reportedly on President Obama’s short list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees before Obama settled on Sonia Sotomayor, who was sworn in last week.

The 60-year-old justice is a Los Angeles native and graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School.


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