Use your law degree to make legal and civic rights accessible to those without resources, former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno told the 300 graduating law students from Santa Clara University School of Law.
The law school’s Centennial-year commencement took place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the University’s Mission Gardens.
Moreno spoke on a sunny day before a multiethnic crowd of more than 3,500 family, friends, and supporters of the 2011 graduates. He recounted how shocked he was at the difficulty he encountered when trying to procure services for his autistic niece, whom he and his wife have raised since she was five years old.
He told of the maddening bureaucracy and misinformation he had to overcome to get his niece the medical, school, and social services that were hers by law. If he, a federal judge, was having problems getting the system to work, he said, what chance do those with lesser resources have?
Unless individual rights to due process, equal protection, and civil rights “are enforced and exercised and given meaning in actual practice,” he said, then “for all intents and purposes they may as well cease to exist for many people in our society.”
Moreno’s speech came as Santa Clara University School of Law is celebrating the 100th year since its founding as the “Santa Clara Institute of Law at Santa Clara College.” Read more