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Cruz Reynoso

Professor of Law Emeritus


A.B. Pomona College 1953

LL.B. UC Berkeley 1958


Cruz Reynoso is a Professor of Law Emeritus and was the inaugural holder of the Law School's Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality. The chair recognizes outstanding scholarship and teaching, along with a commitment to preserving and expanding the understanding of "the virtues necessary of a great republic."

A former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, Reynoso is recognized for his leadership in civil rights, immigration and refugee policy, government reform, the administration of justice, legal services for the indigent and education.

Reynoso has served as Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, as well as a member of the Select Commission on Immigration and Human Rights.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton honored Cruz Reynoso with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, for his lifelong devotion to public service. Reynoso has also been honored with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Hispanic Heritage Award in Education and the American Bar Association’s Robert J. Kutak and Spirit of Excellence Awards, for his significant contributions toward increased cooperation between legal education, the practicing bar, and the judiciary.  He has been awarded the UC Davis Medal, the university's highest honor.  He is the recipient of the Hispanic National Bar Association’s (HNBA) highest honor; the Lincoln-Juarez Award is named after Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juarez, the presidents of the United States and Mexico, contemporaries, both lawyers who fought injustice.

UC Davis School of Law has established the Cruz & Jeannene Reynoso Scholarship for Legal Access in his name to help students with financial needs.

Subject Areas

Civil Rights, Professional Responsibility, Appellate Advocacy, Constitutional Law, Remedies

Selected Career Highlights

  • Director, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, 1969-72
  • Professor of Law, University of New Mexico, 1972-76
  • State Bar of California, Loren Miller Award, 1978
  • Associate Justice, Third District Court of Appeal, 1976-82
  • Associate Justice, California Supreme Court, 1982-87
  • Special Counsel, Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler, 1988-present
  • Professor, UCLA School of Law, 1991-2001
  • Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1994-2004
  • Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award in Education, 2000
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2000

Selected Publications

"Hispanics and the Criminal Justice System," in An Agenda for the Twenty-First Century: Hispanics in the United States, pp. 277-315 (edited by Pastora San Juan Cafferty and David W. Engstrom, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2000)

America's New Immigration Law: Origins, Rationales, and Potential Consequences, 162-6 (edited by Wayne A. Cornelius and Ricardo Anzaldua Montoya, San Diego: Univ. of California Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, 1983)

Diversity in Legal Education: A Broader View, A Deeper Commitment, 52 J. OF LEGAL EDUC. 491 (2002)

Brief Remembrances: My Appointment and Service on the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, 1976-1987, 13 BERKELEY LA RAZA L.J. 15 (2002)

The Role of Assets in Assuring Equity: Altheimer Symposium on Racial Equality in the 21st Century, (Keynote Speaker), 21 University of Arkansas, Little Rock Law Review 743-57 (1999)

Introduction, 17 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. IX (1995)

Introduction, 14 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 1 (1994)

Unleashing the Health Care Border Guards, 4(5) Journal of American Health Care 22-6 (1994)

Cultural Diversity: Reality and the Ideal, 6 La Raza L. J. 209-20 (1993)

Remembering Cesar Chavez, from the Grassroots Up, 50 National Lawyers Guild Practitioner 97-99 (1993)

Ethnic Diversity: Its Historical and Constitutional Roots, Gianella Lecture), 37 Villanova L. Rev. 821-37 (1992)

Twenty-Five Years of the Civil Rights Act: History and Promise, 25 Wake Forest L. Rev. 159-95 (1990)

Educational Equity, 36 UCLA L. Rev. 107-17 (1988)

Introduction, 26 Wayne L. Rev. 1201-4 (1980). Symposium: Affirmative Action

Opening Address, 22 Howard L. J. 455-62 (1979). CLEO Symposium

The Legal Education of Chicano Students: A Study in Mutual Accommodation and Cultural Conflict, with Leo M. Romero and Richard Delgado), 5 New Mexico L. Rev. 177-231 (1975)

Special Report of the Proceedings of the American Association of Law Schools Section on Minority Groups: Panel Discussion #1 - Beyond Defunis: Testing the Nation's Will, with Derrick A. Bell and Peter J. Liacouris), 4 Black L. J. 457-63 (1974)

California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA): Survival of a Poverty Law Practice, with Michael Bennett), Chicano L. Rev. 1-79 (1972)

Introduction: La Raza, the Law, and the Law Schools, 2 Univ. of Toledo L. Rev. 809-18 (1970)

Change through the Law: CRLA, 5 Brief/Case 2 (1969)

The Government's Role in Ending Discrimination: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in Equal Employment Opportunity, 30-40 (edited by Richard R. MacNaab, Washington, D.C.: Machinery and Allied Products Institute and Council for Technological Advancement, 1969)

Few Protest Abuse, But Good Policing is a Right of All: Community After Community Tells US that the Police Culture that Accepts Malfeasance Must Change, Los Angeles Times, Metro; Part B; Page 11

The Law and Your Legal Rights: A Bilingual Guide to Everyday Legal Issues, by Jess J. Araujok (1998)

Keep Politics Off the Bench: County-Wide Judicial Elections Preserve Independence, (with J. Clark Kelso), Los Angeles Daily J. at 6, col. 3

City of Pasadena independent Financial and Legal Audit, (with Carolyn H. Carlburg). Pasadena: City of Pasadena (1993). Executive Summary of the Report on the Contractual and Financial Relationships between the City of Pasadena and the Tournament of Roses Association

Reviewing The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law, 10(1) California Lawyer 58-9 (1990) by Robert H. Bork

Democracy and Diversity, Stanford: Stanford Center for Chicano Research (1988). Ernesto Galarza Commemorative Lecture.

The Role of the California Postsecondary Education Commission Achieving Educational Equity in California, (Cruz Reynoso, Chair). Sacramento: The Commission (1988)