Carlos R. Moreno

Carlos Roberto Moreno (born November 4, 1948) is a Mexican-American jurist who is the former United States Ambassador to Belize. Previously, he served as a Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California from February 4, 1998, to October 18, 2001, and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California from October 18, 2001, to February 28, 2011. Following his retirement from the bench in 2011, Moreno was counsel with Irell & Manella. Moreno was considered to be a leading candidate to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court.

Carlos Roberto Moreno
Carlos Moreno v2.jpg
United States Ambassador to Belize
In office
June 24, 2014 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byVinai Thummalapally
Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
In office
October 18, 2001 – February 28, 2011
Appointed byGray Davis
Preceded byStanley Mosk
Succeeded byGoodwin Liu
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
In office
February 4, 1998 – October 18, 2001
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded byRobert Mitsuhiro Takasugi
Succeeded byCormac J. Carney
Personal details
Carlos Roberto Moreno

(1948-11-04) November 4, 1948 (age 71)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic Party USA
EducationYale College (B.A.)
Stanford Law School (J.D.)

Early life and familyEdit

Moreno is the son of Mexican immigrants, his mother arrived in the country with few skills and no resources after the death of his father at a young age. He grew up in a home where Spanish was the first language and where no family member had an education beyond high school.[1] In a speech at the UC Davis School of Law (King Hall), he told students, "I never in my wildest dreams thought that I could become one of seven judges on the highest court in the state. I want to emphasize to you the idea that no matter what your dreams may be, you can follow them."

A native of Los Angeles, Moreno grew up in a small community in Elysian Park known as Solano Canyon. He attended local public schools (such as Solano Elementary) before going east to Yale University, from which he graduated in 1970.[2]

Education and early legal careerEdit

Moreno received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Yale University in 1970 and his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School in 1975.[3][4] After graduating from law school and being admitted to the Bar in 1975, he served in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office. As Deputy City Attorney, he prosecuted criminal and civil consumer protection cases, and handled politically sensitive and legislative matters for the City Attorney. In 1979, he joined the firm of Mori & Ota (which became part of Kelley Drye & Warren) representing the firm's business clients in its general commercial litigation practice.

Judicial serviceEdit

Carlos Moreno's official portrait as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California

Moreno's service in the judiciary began with his appointment in 1986 to the Los Angeles Municipal Court, Compton Judicial District, by Governor George Deukmejian. In that capacity, he adjudicated criminal matters, with an emphasis on serious felony offenses, and supervised the court's civil department until 1993, when Governor Pete Wilson elevated him to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, where he presided over felony trials.[5]

Moreno was nominated by President Bill Clinton on July 31, 1997, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Central District of California vacated by Judge Robert Mitsuhiro Takasugi. He was confirmed by the Senate on February 3, 1998, and received commission on February 4, 1998. His service terminated on October 18, 2001, due to resignation.

Moreno was appointed to the Supreme Court of California following his nomination by Governor Gray Davis.[6][7][8] In November 2002, California voters confirmed Moreno for the remainder of the term of his deceased predecessor, Justice Stanley Mosk. In 2010, California voters confirmed Justice Moreno to a full 12-year term.[9]

As an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, Moreno reviewed on appeal a wide range of civil and criminal cases, which have substantial state and federal constitutional implications. With his appointment to the Supreme Court of California, he became only the third judge of Hispanic heritage to serve in the Court's nearly 150-year history, and the first in more than a decade, since Cruz Reynoso.

On January 6, 2011, Moreno announced his intention to retire from the California Supreme Court effective February 28, 2011.[10][11] After leaving the court, Moreno was counsel with the Irell & Manella.[12] In April 2017, he began working as a mediator and arbitrator in Los Angeles.[13]

Awards and honorsEdit

Moreno is the former president of the Mexican American Bar Association. He has been a member of the California Judges Association, the Presiding Judges Association and the Municipal Court Judges Association of Los Angeles County. He was also the president of the Yale Club of Southern California, and a member of the Stanford University Law School Board of Visitors. He currently serves as a director of the Arroyo Vista Family Health Center and the Western Justice Center Foundation.

Moreno was honored with the Criminal Justice Superior Court Judge of the Year Award in 1997, from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and was presented with the "For God, For Country, and For Yale" Award in 2001, recognizing him as a distinguished alumnus of Yale University. He also received an honorary degree from Southwestern University School of Law in May 2002 for his devotion to the justice system, young people and the community.In 2009, he was awarded the Yale Medal, which "is the highest award presented by the Association of Yale Alumni and is conferred solely to recognize and honor outstanding individual service to the University."

Possible nomination to the U.S. Supreme CourtEdit

On May 13, 2009, the Associated Press reported that President Barack Obama was considering Moreno, among others, for possible appointment to the United States Supreme Court.[14] Despite the potential nomination, he released a controversial dissent in Strauss v. Horton the same day President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor.[15]

U.S. Ambassador to BelizeEdit

On July 8, 2013, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Moreno to be United States Ambassador to Belize.[16] On July 9, 2013, Obama formally nominated Moreno to the post.[17] On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, the United States Senate confirmed Moreno to his ambassadorship by voice vote. Moreno arrived in Belize on June 21, 2014 and presented his credentials to Governor General Sir Colville Young on June 24, 2014.[18] He stepped down from the post at the end of Obama's term.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dolan, Maura (September 30, 2001). "Determined to Deliver on a Dream, Profile: Carlos Moreno worked and studied hard to advance from a modest L.A. background to his nomination to the state Supreme Court". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  2. ^ "Associate Justice Carlos R. Moreno - supreme_court". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Justice Carlos R. Moreno Prize". La Casa Cultural: Latino Cultural Center. Yale College. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  4. ^ "About Carlos R. Moreno". Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration. Yale University. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "Century City: Ex-City Official Found Guilty of Soliciting Bribe". Los Angeles Times. May 5, 1995. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  6. ^ Dolan, Maura (September 26, 2001). "Davis Selects Nominee for High Court". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  7. ^ Dolan, Maura; Rosenzweig, David (September 27, 2001). "High Court Nominee Vows to Emphasize Consensus, Profile: Carlos Moreno's confirmation would make him the lone Democrat on state high court". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Dolan, Maura (October 19, 2001). "Moreno Sworn In as Justice of California Supreme Court". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "Nov. 2 Election Results". Trinity Journal. 10 November 2010. p. 7. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  10. ^ "Justice Moreno Announces Retirement from State Supreme Court" (PDF). Judicial Council of California. January 6, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  11. ^ Elias, Thomas D. (July 1, 2014). "Column: Brown can put his stamp on California Supreme Court". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-21. Retrieved 2011-03-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno Joins JAMS in Los Angeles". JAMS April 5, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  14. ^ Silva, Mark (2009-05-13). "Carlos Moreno: Supreme Court candidate". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  15. ^ Dolan, Maura (2009-09-26). "Carlos Moreno, California high court justice, is raising his profile". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  16. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". 8 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". 9 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Ambassador Carlos R. Moreno: Ambassador of the United States of America to Belize". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on 2014-09-11. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
  19. ^ Revesz, Rachel (January 20, 2017). "Donald Trump has fired all foreign US ambassadors with nobody to replace them". The Independent. Retrieved January 20, 2017.

Photos and videoEdit

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert Mitsuhiro Takasugi
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Succeeded by
Cormac J. Carney
Preceded by
Stanley Mosk
Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
Succeeded by
Goodwin Liu
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Vinai Thummalapally
United States Ambassador to Belize