A Conversation with Supreme Court of California Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

          2L Daniel Morales reflects on Justice Cuéllar's inspiring visit.

          I am proud to be a member of La Raza, I serve on its executive board, and my position is External Vice President. Shortly after beginning this spring semester, somewhat serendipitously, I met Justice Cuéllar and we began a dialogue.

          I asked my fellow board members to approve an event hosting Justice Cuéllar. After getting La Raza’s endorsement, I officially invited Justice Cuéllar and he graciously accepted. Thanks to our co-sponsors the Associated Students of UC Hastings (“ASUCH”), and our Acting Chancellor and Dean David L. Faigman, the event included lunch for attendees. And, thanks to Adjunct Professor Catalina Lozano for introducing Justice Cuéllar at the event.

          On March 15, 2016, Justice Cuéllar visited UC Hastings to speak with members and friends of La Raza. In planning the visit, I asked Justice Cuéllar if he would be willing to take questions from students, and he happily agreed. Students submitted their questions before the event, and during the event Justice Cuéllar answered as many as time permitted. After the event, students were able to meet Justice Cuéllar, speak with him individually, and many took pictures with our guest of honor. Justice Cuéllar spoke on a range of topics, including his experience thus far on the Supreme Court of California and stories about his family. Justice Cuéllar is an inspiration, and his background as an immigrant/Mexican-American provides a particularly rare human-connection with our community of law students.

          The message that I heard permeating throughout all of Justice Cuéllar’s answers was the importance of humility and confidence. One of the things I appreciated most about Justice Cuéllar was how he made himself accessible to our community of law students. These qualities which Justice Cuéllar embodies are the same qualities that he champions of the Law. For instance, accessibility to Justice is one of Justice Cuéllar’s platforms as the Chair of the Language Access Implementation Task Force advising the Judicial Council.

          Although the visit lasted only an hour, there was a consensus that the wisdom and inspiration students took away from the event will be with them for much longer.

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