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Carlos Moreno ’70: Belize bound

When Carlos Moreno ’70 retired from the California Supreme Court in 2011—soon after being reelected—his decision surprised some people.

Now, Moreno has landed the seemingly perfect retirement job: US ambassador to Belize. He arrived June 21 in the Central American nation with the paradisical reputation. (Morley Safer, having landed a plum 60 Minutes assignment that essentially consisted of taking a camera crew on his vacation, once declared: “The good news from Belize is . . . no news from Belize.”) 

Moreno served 24 years on both the federal and state benches in California, leaving a “legacy of decency,” in the words of the California Bar JournalAmong other accomplishments, he “authored some of the state’s key gay rights opinions and helped spark recent changes in the foster care system,” the Journal wrote.

A first-generation Mexican American from southern California, Moreno found his way to Yale, where he was active in MEChA, the Chicano student organization. Years later, when he presided in the courtroom, he used his MECha gavel, he told fellow attendees at Yale’s first official Latino reunion in 2009.

That same year, Moreno was reportedly under consideration for the US Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice David Souter.

While he’s a native Spanish speaker, the new ambassador may not need his mother tongue on the job: Belize is the only country in the region where English is the official language.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

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