This morning, the Supreme Court exercised the power granted it by the Legislature to admit to practice “an applicant who is not lawfully present in the United States.”  Granting the admission application of Sergio Garcia, the court for the first time used that power, which it has had only since yesterday.  The court concluded:

“In light of the recently enacted state legislation, we conclude that the Committee’s motion to admit Garcia to the State Bar should be granted. The new legislation removes any potential statutory obstacle to Garcia’s admission posed by [8 U.S.C.] section 1621, and there is no other federal statute that purports to preclude a state from granting a license to practice law to an undocumented immigrant. The new statute also reflects that the Legislature and the Governor have concluded that the admission of an undocumented immigrant who has met all the qualifications for admission to the State Bar is fully consistent with this state’s public policy, and, as this opinion explains, we find no basis to disagree with that conclusion. Finally, we agree with the Committee’s determination that Garcia possesses the requisite good moral character to warrant admission to the State Bar and, pursuant to our constitutional authority, grant the Committee’s motion to admit Garcia to the State Bar.”

The opinion is unanimous, although Justice Chin filed a concurring opinion taking issue with the majority opinion’s use of the term “undocumented immigrant” instead of “unlawful alien.”