As concerns the case of the undocumented wanna-be California lawyer Sergio Garcia — it took about a month to get some kind of a resolution. In September, following oral argument, I wondered whether California’s Supreme Court would establish new precedent and settle the law of the question or whether the justices would kick the can down the road to the state legislature.
Jurisprudentially speaking — any conjecture is now moot. Although the Court has yet to hand down its decision, the California Legislature instead took matters into its own hands and passed AB 1024. Authored by State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the measure kicks no more cans down the road and allows applicants who satisfy admission requirements — but who are not lawfully present in the United States, to be admitted as attorneys in California. Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1024 into law on October 5th.
Specifically, AB – 1024 states “Upon certification by the examining committee that an applicant who is not lawfully present in the United States has fulfilled the requirements for admission to practice law, the Supreme Court may admit that applicant as an attorney at law in all the courts of this state and may direct an order to be entered upon its records to that effect. A certificate of admission thereupon shall be given to the applicant by the clerk of the court.”
First-time Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, an achievement-minded individual with degrees from Stanford, Georgetown and UCLA, is also a lawyer. “For me,” she declared, “this is also personal. My father came to this country as a farmworker. But, for the grace of God, I was born in San Diego County, just a few dozen miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. As a result, when I graduated from UCLA School of Law and passed the bar, I never once had to consider that the state would deny me a license to practice law. I am not a better person and am no more deserving than Sergio Garcia and the other dreamers in his position.”
So let the caterwauling begin!
Photo Credits: “I did not crush this can with my mouth, I did it with water!! Video coming soon!!” by Lane Fournerat at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution and no derivative works; “one angry cat” by Guru Sno Studios at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution and no derivative works.