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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.
WHERE: Adobe Lodge, Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
WHO: Students, faculty, and alumni of Santa Clara Law, and members of the bench and bar

The Diversity Gala is sponsored by leading corporate law firms with title sponsor, Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, providing generous support.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus masters and law degrees, and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. masters universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

About Santa Clara Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, founded in 1911 on the site of California’s oldest operating higher-education institution, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. One of the nation’s most diverse law schools, Santa Clara Law offers its 975 students an academically rigorous program, including graduate degrees in international law and intellectual property law; combined J.D./MBA and J.D./MSIS degrees; and certificates in intellectual property law, international law, and public interest and social justice law. Santa Clara Law is located in the world-class business center of Silicon Valley, and is distinguished nationally for our top-ranked program in intellectual property. For more information, see
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