HomePoliticsCalifornia Law School Sued by Descendants of Namesake Over Name Change

California Law School Sued by Descendants of Namesake Over Name Change

A group of University of California Hastings School of Law alumni and descendants of its namesake, Serranus Hastings, filed a lawsuit against the state and the school Tuesday in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of a bill that authorized to change the name of the school.

Hastings, a California Supreme Court justice, founded the school in 1878, but some historians allege that he was an accessory to the murders of Native Americans.

UC Hastings School of Law in San Francisco, California.
(Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

On September 30, Newsom, a Democrat, signed AB 1936, which was sponsored by Assemblyman James C. Ramos. The bill redesignates the University of California’s Hastings of the Law as the San Francisco School of Law.

The law also outlined several “restorative justice initiatives” for the Round Valley Indian Tribes and the Yuki People whose ancestors: according to Newsom’s office – “suffered mass murder and other atrocities financed and supported by the university’s founder, Serranus Hastings, in the mid-19th century.”


Tuesday’s lawsuit was filed by Dhillon Law Group and Michael Yamamoto LLP, along with the Center for American Liberty on behalf of Hastings descendants and the UC Hastings Conservation Committee.

The lawsuit challenges Hastings’ representation of AB 1936, saying there is no direct evidence that he committed atrocities against Native Americans.

“Hastings, a lifelong Democrat, was a giant in California history, our first Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, and like many founding figures, he is the latest victim of activists rewriting history to fit an agenda contemporary, with little factual basis, without due process, and the ends justify the means,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, executive director of the Center for American Liberty, in a statement.

Banners of the UC Hastings School of Law are seen in San Francisco, California, the United States, on Oct. 27, 2021.

Banners of the UC Hastings School of Law are seen in San Francisco, California, the United States, on Oct. 27, 2021.
(Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“In his time, Hastings was a civil rights leader and neither he, his descendants nor the graduates of this fine institution deserve the smear work orchestrated by politicians for their own ends,” the statement continues.

The lawsuit alleges that the name change violates an agreement between the State of California and Hastings, when it gave him $100,000 in gold to establish the school. Under the agreement, Hastings would serve as its inaugural dean, an heir or representative would always hold a seat on the school’s board of directors, and it would forever be called “Hastings Law School,” according to the suit.

In a statement to Fox News, the law school said it was aware of the lawsuit and was “disappointed” by the plaintiffs’ attempt to prevent the name change, “which was made official through AB 1936 with no votes.” negative in the State Assembly and Senate

“Passage of the bill was the result of a lengthy, deliberate, and transparent process at the College that included years of careful research, multiple public hearings, and input from a wide range of community stakeholders,” the law school said. . “The college remains committed to moving forward with the name change and continuing our restorative justice efforts with the support of the campus community.”

Fox News has reached out to Ramos’ office for comment.


The school’s name change will take effect in January 2023.

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