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Who is Stanley Mosk?
Stanley Mosk (September 4, 1912 – June 19, 2001) was an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court for 37 years (1964–2001), and holds the record for the longest-serving justice on that court. Before sitting on the Supreme Court, he served as Attorney General of California and as a trial court judge, among other governmental positions. Mosk was the last Justice of the California Supreme Court to have served in non-judicial elected office prior to his appointment to the bench.
He is the father of California Court of Appeals Justice Richard Mosk. Mosk served until his death in 2001, having surpassed Justice John W. Shenk to become the longest-serving justice in the history of the Court in 1999. He authored many significant opinions, some of which have been included in law school casebooks. In 1999, Albany Law School Professor Vincent Martin Bonventre described Mosk as, "An institution, an icon, a trailblazer, a legal scholar, a constitutional guardian, a veritable living legend of the American judiciary, . . . one of the most influential members in the history of one of the most influential tribunals in the western world."
Mosk died in 2001 at the age of 88. Now Los Angeles school board member Steve Zimmer, who is Jewish, along with Mosk’s son, Justice Richard Mosk of the California Courts of Appeal, Second District, are leading an effort to have a new school named for Stanley Mosk.
“Justice [Stanley] Mosk is an absolutely critical historical figure in the legal community [of] our city and community,” Zimmer told me. “Particularly, in restrictive covenants, he changed civil rights history in our city.” Noting there’s already a courthouse named for Mosk, Zimmer said, “We honor jurists by naming courts after them, but we have to honor jurists who have the courage to change our lives with more than a court building. Nothing honors such a person as naming a school after him.” Unlike a courthouse, Zimmer said, “a school is a place of hope, particularly a new school.”
In 2010, Stanley Mosk Elementary was opened by former principal Barbara Friedrich. Naming the new school after the late Justice Mosk would be a tribute both to him and to others who fought for civil rights, particularly in the segregated Los Angeles of the post-World War II era (Jewish Journal).
Welcome to Stanley Mosk Elementary, where all students and staff strive to make a difference in the world, just like Justice Stanley Mosk.