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Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012

{ JUDicial perspective: alUmni } carol corrigan ’75 STew rd oF THe lAwA c Justice Carol Corrigan ’75 has infinite law as it stands follows her conviction that “aorrigan’s steadfast adherence to thecourt Associatecupremesalifornia respect for the law in a democracy. “Judges judge’s power is circumscribed by the people are stewards of the law, not philosopher who give us these jobs.” The daughter of kings,” she says. “i’m not allowed to say, ‘if a librarian and journalist, neither of whom i ruled the world, this is how it would be.’ attended college, she describes her career instead, i ask, ‘what does the law require or trajectory as completely unscripted. “it would allow in a particular circumstance?’ ” have been presumptuous to assume i would when the court sided with oakland’s have the opportunities i have had,” says catholic bishop and refused to reinstate a corrigan, who is deeply committed to giving lawsuit by six brothers who alleged they were back. Among her many charitable activities is molested by a priest in the 1970s, corrigan, a serving as board president of saint vincent’s lifelong catholic, dissented. she also dis- day home, a child development center in sented on a search and seizure case later oakland. (corrigan is pictured with children overturned by the u.s. supreme court, sur- from saint vincent’s at right.) prising many who know her as conservative by After graduating from uc hastings and arguing that the majority wanted to grant too working as a prosecutor in the Alameda much authority to the police. county district Attorney’s office, she became repeatedly, corrigan has ruled not with a judge in the county’s municipal court in her community, and perhaps not always with 1987. she became a judge in the Alameda her heart, but with her best appreciation of county superior court in 1991 and a justice in where the law stands. the california court of Appeal, First district, such was the situation when the california in 1994. in 2006, gov. Arnold schwarzenegger supreme court ruled that voters had the appointed her to california’s highest court. authority to limit the definition of marriage “it is a great privilege to be able to decide to a union between a man and a woman. on the pressing issues of American life,” she corrigan agreed that proposition 8, passed says. “it doesn’t get much better than this.” by 52 percent of california voters, should stand. As she wrote in her dissent, “in my view, californians should allow our gay and lesbian neighbors to call their unions marriages. but i, and this court, must acknowledge that a majority of californians have a different view.” when the court ruled on proposition 8, Advice corner corrigan said that throwing out the measure WHAT ADvICE WoULD YoU GIvE A LAWYEr oN HoW would amount to a pocket veto by officials over To INTErvIEW CLIENTS? the electorate. “by allowing that, you run the Ask open-ended questions. really listen to the answers, risk that people will lose faith in the law, and and reward honesty, even if you don’t like the answers. disenfranchisement is a corrosive problem in It’s of course never a good idea to lie to your attorney, society,” she says. but the attorney plays a part in that not happening. 22 FAll 2012


Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012
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