They Still Write Editorials?

I'm pretty sure that's what the interwebs need more of -- opinions.

Even so, this is a rare burst of clear-eyed advocacy from a Miami Herald editorial page often devoid of opinions worth discussing:
The commission should make smooth functioning of the court system a priority when it examines in detail the budget approved by the Legislature and sees what funds are available after the governor’s budget vetoes.

This, though, would be just a temporary patch. The bigger job is to put funding for the court clerks on a rational basis, one that complies with public expectation of good customer service at each court clerk’s office, litigants’ need for efficient handling of cases, and the constitution’s requirement of adequate financing. 
Ok, I guess it's still kinda milquetoast but remember, we are talking about the Herald editorial page.  

In other news, can you believe an undocumented immigrant actually wants to practice law in Florida?

The horrors:
Can an immigrant without a green card get a Florida Bar card?
Aspiring lawyer Jose Godinez-Samperio, 25, a Tampa-area resident, is hoping the answer is yes.

A native of Mexico who entered the United States legally with his parents 16 years ago on a tourist visa, Godinez-Samperio is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law, the valedictorian of the Armwood High School class of 2004, an Eagle Scout — and an undocumented immigrant.

That last quality may keep him from achieving his dream.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners, which grants membership to the Bar, has asked the state Supreme Court to determine whether it can accept someone who is not in the country legally. The Supreme Court flagged the case as "high profile" last week.
Certified Legal Legend Sandy D'Alemberte says yes:
"It is unfair to deny him the credentials he's earned," said D'Alemberte, noting that there's nothing in the "Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Florida Bar" that requires applicants to prove their immigration status.

In fact, D'Alemberte said, Godinez-Samperio has been candid about his status at every opportunity, disclosing it on college and law school applications (his application to law school included an essay titled "The Consequences of my Criminal Childhood," although being in the country illegally is a civil infraction, not a crime).
Sandy is joined by former ABA Presidents Martha Barnett and Steve Zack.

Other the other hand, there are these guys:
"No one who has shown this guy's level of contempt for American law should be practicing law," said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, a political action committee that opposes amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, agreed.
"He can't practice as a lawyer," Fitton said. "He is not legally able to work in the United States. … It seems to me that it would be an absurdity to give him a Bar card at this point."
Hmm, if "contempt for American law" was the standard I could think of quite a few lawyers and maybe a Supreme Court Justice or two that might fall afoul of that one.

But maybe I'm wrong.

As the old saying goes -- which side are you on?

Read more here:


  1. I'm a southern redneck. I hate them Yankees. Who are they to tell us who can and can't live here. This is Florida!

    Enough of the corporate-run national police state. Open the border. Let goods and labor flow! Viva the free market. If you don't want an undocumented worker to take your job; DO IT WELL!

  2. It seems like he has earned his Bar card ... whether he can actually work and earn a living off of it is a different question that's left for the Federal Government to figure out.


  4. I wish the young man well, but I think that the issue being overlooked is a more practical one: If he is under a constant threat of deportation, is his ability to serve his clients compromised? What if he's detained in the middle of a criminal trial?

    I suspect that the court will punt this on grounds that his immigration status needs to be clarified.

  5. Whether he can work in the US or not is irrelevant. The question is whether he can offer advice on Florida law. He can do that anywhere in the world - not just in Florida or even the US - so long as he has a Florida Bar Card. Think of all the NY lawyers in Florida. The fact that they don't have their offices in NY doesn't change the fact that they need a NY Bar Card. In theory, this guy could do a robust practice from Mexico City advising clients on all sorts of things (immigration law, real estate in Florida, FL corp structure, etc.).

    Since when has residing in a State have anything to do with being admitted to that state's bar? Deport him if you want, but give him the Bar Card he earned.

  6. Actually, the New York courts require you to have an office in New York as a condition of being able to practice, there. We discovered this after hiring a New York lawyer who said, "Sure, I can file and sign pleadings in New York! No problem!"

  7. Anonymous, that's true about needing an office in New York to practice there. I spent a lot of time with my personal injury lawyer there and thats what they said. It's also very hard to pass the bar in NY. I keep an editorial blog/tumblr on some of the happenings with lawsuits in and around the area just because I find it so interesting:


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