Hon. Carlos Cadena

Carlos Cadena was born in San Antonio, Texas. From a humble childhood, his brilliant mind led to an unparalleled career as a law student, practitioner, civil rights leader, United States Supreme Court advocate, city attorney, law professor, legal scholar, and jurist. Chief Justice Cadena was the only Mexican-American in his class when he received his LL.B., summa cum laude, from the University of Texas School of Law in 1940 – graduating third in his class. He also served as an editor of the Texas Law Review. After graduation, he worked as an assistant city attorney until he was drafted into the Army Air Force during World War II. After his discharge from the military, he engaged in private practice and taught at St. Mary’s University Law School. During his practice, he and co-counsel Gustavo “Gus” Garcia argued the landmark case of Hernandez v. Texas, resulting in a unanimous decision holding the exclusion of Mexican-Americans from juries was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. He later served as City Attorney and as one of the founders of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He became the first Mexican-American Chief Justice in Texas when he assumed that position for the Fourth Court of Appeals. Chief Justice Cadena received a number of legal accolades and honors during his long career.


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