This will be a short post, unless I snap in the middle of writing it and get hysterical.
Why is The California State Bar August’s first Ethics Dunce? This news item says it all:
“A California State Bar panel is considering whether an illegal immigrant who passed the exam to practice law should be admitted despite his status.”
Pardon me, California State Bar, but exactly what is there to “consider?”
I can see the value of some general consideration of the insanity of California’s laissez faire attitude toward illegal immigrants, and the fact that California residents seem to have no problem with allowing them to use schools, hospitals, public schools, universities and others services that their bankrupt state can barely afford. I can see the need for some reconsideration of the foolishness of creating incentives for illegal immigrants to continue living a lie in America by giving them the benefits of a Dream Act, like the one Governor Brown recently signed into law. I can see value in considering how it can possibly be fair and responsible to make other immigrants wait for their applications for immigration to be processed and duly approved according to legal requirements, while looking the other way and whistling as other clandestine immigrants ignore the law, in effect jumping ahead of legal immigrants in line.
But since membership in the California bar requires evidence of good moral character, which includes honesty, trustworthiness and respect for the law, especially in the matter of not using fraudulent or illegal documents, I don’t understand what there is to consider when an illegal immigrant, having graduated from law school thanks to California’s willful ignorance of his illegal status, chooses to pursue the next step of applying or a license as a lawyer when his entire life and residence in the U.S. have in fact been in violation of the law.
If California views such contempt for our nation’s laws as not disqualifying an applicant from being a lawyer, then I don’t see how it could ever deny anyone a bar membership on the basis of character. In fact, if it takes California’s State Bar more than a millisecond to figure out the answer to the question, “Should an illegal immigrant be granted a license to practice law?,” then the California’s State Bar is ethically hopeless.
Time’s up. The answer is no.