Distinguished Jurist and University of California Davis School of Law Professor Emeritus Cruz Reynoso will serve as the Hamline University School of Law Juris Fiesta keynote speaker on March 14, 2009. When he arrives, he will be personally greeted by his former law clerk, Professor Joseph Daly, who worked for Justice Reynoso in 1967 at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the General Counsel's Office in Washington, D.C.
"I remember going into his office and feeling more than a little nervous when I was asked to handle my first big assignment," Professor Daly recalls with a laugh. "I was quickly relieved when I realized that he wanted me to succeed. He is an impressive lawyer and he truly cares about people. He is a kind and decent man."
The Fifth Annual Juris Fiesta is titled: "Cornerstones and Building Blocks: The Foundations and Future of Latinos in the Law." Juris Fiesta is a major annual event at Hamline, drawing more than 200 members of Minnesota's bench and bar and featuring prominent Latino legal educators, including Professor Elizabeth Iglesias from the University of Miami School of Law and Jose Roberto (Beto) Juarez, Jr., dean of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. Funds raised at the event have led to the establishment of a scholarship for Latino law students at Hamline.
"Professor Reynoso embodies perfectly the values undergirding Hamline's Juris Fiesta," said Hamline law professor and Juris Fiesta advisor Tom I. Romero II. "His long-standing commitment to public service, his principled legal reasoning in the service of equity and social justice, and his deep-rooted connections to the Latino community will certainly inspire the next generation of Latino legal professionals and leaders who are being trained at the school to connect their journey of inclusive excellence to a shared and transformative experience."
Professor Cruz Reynoso was the first Latino person to serve on the California Supreme Court. He served as an Associate Justice from 1982 to 1987 and is credited with helping to extend additional protections for the environment, individual liberties and civil rights. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor, from President Clinton in 2000, the same year he received the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award in Education. He served as the Vice Chair on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1994-2004 and was a professor at the UCLA School of Law from 1991-2001.
Professor Reynoso also is the inaugural holder of the UC Davis School of Law's Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality, which recognizes outstanding scholarship and teaching, along with a commitment to preserving and expanding the understanding of "the virtues necessary of a great republic." He was selected for his leadership in civil rights, immigration and refugee policy, government reform, the administration of justice, legal services for the indigent and education. He retired in December 2006 and was honored with the UC Davis Medal, the highest tribute bestowed by the campus.