In a closely watched case, the California Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a man living in the United States illegally who graduated from law school and passed the state bar exam may obtain a license to practice his craft.
The ruling involves Sergio Garcia, who challenged a 1996 law that bars people living in the country illegally from receiving "professional licenses" from government agencies, or with the use of public funds, unless state lawmakers vote otherwise.
"Garcia initially was brought to California by his parents as a very young child," the court ruling said, "and has gone to college, completed law school, and has successfully passed the bar examination in California. He has been a diligent and trusted worker and has made significant contributions to his community. He has never been convicted of a criminal offense."
"No individual raised any concern with respect to Garcia's moral fitness," the judges continued. "Numerous individuals who worked with, taught, and participated in community activities with Garcia over many years had nothing but the highest praise for the applicant. For example, an attorney for whom Garcia worked as an unpaid intern during law school stated that 'I know with absolute certainty that Mr. Garcia [is] among the most honest, forthright, and moral individuals that I have ever met.'"