Friday, January 3, 2014
Citing a new state law allowing persons living in the country illegally to get their law licenses, the California Supreme Court has paved the way for a Latino to fulfill his dream of becoming an attorney despite his not being a U.S. citizen
In a unanimous ruling, the state Supreme Court determined that there is no reason to block Sergio Garcia's bid for a California law license, now that a new law permits the state's high court to give such licenses to immigrants who are not yet citizens. State legislators, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, pushed the legislation as Garcia's case was unfolding in the Supreme Court, which has a final say on licensing California attorneys. During arguments, the justices appeared unlikely to back Garcia because federal immigration law precludes giving a law license to people living in this country illegally. But the court invited the Legislature to fix the problem if it wanted to solve the conflict with federal laws. In the ruling, the Supreme Court concluded that there is no longer reason to deny a law license to Garcia, or other illegal immigrants in his position. "We conclude there is no state law or state public policy that would justify precluding undocumented immigrants, as a class from obtaining a law license in California," Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote for the court.