UC Hastings College of the Law is proud to announce that its new Center for Scholarly Publications will be named in honor of Justice Wiley W. Manuel ‘53, the first African American Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of California. This announcement was timed to honor Justice Manuel during Black History Month, for his contributions to California including his service to the Department of Justice, the judiciary, and UC Hastings Law.
The law school’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the naming at a special meeting on Feb. 28, 2022.
The Justice Wiley W. Manuel Center for Scholarly Publications will be in the new 14-story complex under construction at 198 McAllister Street, the second of Hastings’ new Academic Village buildings, which will open in Fall 2023. The complex includes the office space for the law school’s 10 journals, a fitting tribute since Justice Manuel was the Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Law Journal when he was a law student.
Several partners came together to ensure the success of the naming. Advocates included former San Francisco Mayor L. Willie Brown Jr. ‘58, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California; Martin Jenkins, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court; Shirley M. Weber, California Secretary of State; Steven Bradford, state Senator and Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus; Mike Gipson, state Assemblyman; United States District Court Judge Troy Nunley; UC Hastings Black Alumni Association Co-President Regina Evans; Judge (ret.) Brenda Harbin-Forte, Past Chair of the Judicial Council of the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL); Aileen Casanave, President of CABL; Ryan Harrison, President of the Wiley Manuel Bar Association; Robert Harris, Past President of the Charles Houston Bar Association; Dennis Dawson, Esq., who is an original founding member of CABL; and the UC Hastings Black Law Students Association.
At the meeting, UC Hastings Chancellor and Dean David Faigman introduced a resolution to name the Scholarly Publications Center, then several speakers voiced their support, including retired judges, elected officials and attorneys.
Brown Jr. said he was serving in the legislature when then-Gov. Jerry Brown nominated Manuel to the Supreme Court and called the former Justice, “Sterling and so inspirational and so incredibly thoughtful.”
Cantil-Sakauye said the late justice’s work ethic and leadership still positively impacts the court, “If you name this center after Justice Wiley W. Manuel, his name will live forever on, to inspire young lawyers, young students, to follow in his footsteps, to take up the mantle of leadership and integrity.”
Harris voiced the support of Eleanor Manuel, the justice’s widow, who could not attend because of ill health. He said, “She and her family believe that the naming of this center will ensure that his legacy will encourage and inspire generations yet unborn.”
Weber said, “It is only fitting that when our students look up and walk into a scholarly publications center, that they will see the name of a man who strongly believed in it and who also they can model and pattern themselves after.”
“Having this name change occur doing Black History Month is a fitting tribute to Justice Manuel,” said Gipson. “He is a legend and a trailblazer in his own right, but most importantly, he uplifted and inspired many other African Americans to follow in his footsteps. Justice Manuel opened doors for black attorneys to raise to a level of significance and impact the legal profession in a profound way.”
Harbin-Forte said, “Justice Manuel’s accomplishments and his contributions to the legal profession have inspired all African American judicial officers to strive for excellence in all that we do. It is because of him, and the honor that Hastings Law School bestows upon him, that we stand today with a renewed commitment to moving forward courageously in the pursuit of ensuring fairness and justice for all members of our communities.”
“There is a phrase in the Black Community— ‘We stand on the shoulders of giants— Justice Manuel was a giant in the legal profession who paved the way for, and inspired, so many of us to take up the mantle of justice. We are deeply grateful to UC Hastings for honoring him,” said Ryan Harrison, Sr., President of the Wiley Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento County, who was instrumental in bringing together the supporters for the naming.
Justice Wiley W. Manuel was born on August 28, 1927, in Oakland, attended school in Berkeley and graduated from Berkeley High School. He served in the U.S. Army from 1946-1947, then earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. He was a stellar student at UC Hastings Law, placing at the top of his class and earning the Order of the Coif. After graduation, he worked as a deputy attorney general for the state of California, rose to the position of Chief of the Administrative Law Section, then Chief of the Civil Division, leading the San Francisco office; then becoming Chief Assistant Attorney General. He was appointed to the Superior Court in 1977, serving in Alameda County, and was elevated to the California Supreme Court, where he became the first minority and first African American to serve on the state’s highest court. Justice Manuel died in 1981 at the age of 53 and remains one of the most esteemed alumni of UC Hastings Law.