Thursday, November 7, 2002
Court Building Near State Capitol Rededicated to the Late Stanley Mosk
By DAVID KLINE
SACRAMENTO (CAPITOL)—The Library and Courts Building across the street from the state Capitol yesterday became the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building.
At an afternoon ceremony, the historic building was dedicated to the late California Supreme Court justice, and a life-size bronze statue of Mosk was unveiled to watch over the entrance.
State Librarian Kevin Starr noted that the building originally was dedicated to those who died in World War I. The new identity is a proper extension of that dedication, he said.
“That’s because both in his life here, literally in this building and in his career as attorney general and as a jurist, Justice Mosk embodied and stood for those values of rule of law that were at stake in the first World War,” Starr said.
California Chief Justice Ronald George, speaking to an audience that included the six Supreme Court associate justices, many judges from lower courts, Mosk’s widow and several state lawmakers, praised Mosk as “a giant of a man, in intellect, in spirit and certainly in compassion.”
Mosk died last year at age 88 after a record-setting 37-year career on the high court. He previously had served on the Los Angeles Superior Court, as legal adviser to Gov. Culbert Olson from 1939 to 1942, and as California’s attorney general from 1959 to 1964.
Many of his legal opinions advanced protection of civil rights at a time when doing so was unpopular with many members of the judiciary and government power structure. In a 1947 opinion, Mosk struck down racially restrictive real estate covenants.
During World War II, Mosk left the Superior Court to enlist in the U.S. Army. He returned to the bench when the war was over.
The statue, sculpted by Lisa Reinertson over a four-month period, shows a young Mosk in his judicial robe, reading a law book. Reinertson said she interviewed friends and family members and used several photos from Mosk’s early days on the Supreme Court to guide her as she created the sculpture.
The concrete base lists the dates of Mosk’s public service and includes an inscription describing him as a “guardian of the law and defender of civil rights and civil liberties.”
Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett, a Democratic lawyer from San Leandro, also praised Mosk’s role in advancing civil rights. Mosk spent his life “protecting the most vulnerable and defending the least fortunate,” Corbett said.
The Sacramento building, which houses the Court of Appeal and the State Library and hosts the Supreme Court during its infrequent sessions in the capital city, is not the first to be named in Mosk’s honor. In June, the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Central Courthouse was renamed the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company