Carlos Cadena

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Carlos C. Cadena (1917 - 2001) was a Mexican American lawyer, civil rights activist and judge based in San Antonio, Texas.

Carlos Cristian Cadena, the son of Mexican immigrants, was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1917 and attended Catholic school. He earned his LL.B. degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1940, serving as editor of the Texas Law Review and graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Cadena's long legal career was interrupted only by a term as a radio operator in the US Army Air Forces during World War II. In his early years he worked as assistant city attorney (and later city attorney) for San Antonio, was partner in a law firm, and taught law at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. Cadena, a father of one, married Gloria Villa Galvan, a young war widow with eight children. Together they raised their nine children.

Cadena worked with fellow attorney Gus Garcia in the landmark case Hernández v. Texas (1954), arguing before the US Supreme Court for the end of a practice of systematic exclusion of Hispanics from jury service in Jackson County, Texas. Even though Mexican-Americans composed more than 10% of the county's population, no person of Mexican ancestry had served on a jury there in over 25 years. The high court, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, ruled that United States citizens could not be excluded from jury duty based on national origin, because such exclusion denied...
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