New Group Will Advocate For California Courts

A new non-profit group has been formed to, in the words of its press release this week, “… increase awareness about the relationship between adequate state funding for the administration of justice – at the state and local level – and the ability to deliver equal access to justice for all.” The “Foundation for Democracy and Justice” also says it plans to educate the public about the branches of government, with particular attention paid to the role of the judiciary.
In the wake of cutting a billion dollars from the courts budget over the last half-decade, many critics of the cuts have noted that some lawmakers have forgotten that the judiciary is an equal branch of government. The new organization’s initial membership seems to include fairly prominent civic leaders and some high-profile attorneys. 
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and state Attorney General Kamala Harris were announced as “honorary directors” of the group. The Sacramento Bee has a story here.

Long Waits Render Issues Nearly Moot, Ridiculous

At first, the story of Sergio Garcia seems merely interesting: He was born in Mexico but has spent much of his life in the United States, where he earned a law degree but is not yet a citizen. Now the California Supreme Court will decide if it sides with Garcia’s supporters, which happen to include the state’s attorney general, or with the Obama Administration, which opposes giving professional degrees to non-citizens.
But the issue seems almost beside the point when you realize that Garcia has waited FOUR YEARS for a court decision on his case, and according to a story by Howard Mintz in the San Jose Mercury News “… his immigration status has been in flux since 1994, when he returned from years of schooling in Mexico to rejoin his family and finish high school in Durham. His father and most of his siblings are citizens, but the sluggish federal visa process for Mexican immigrants has slowed his bid for legal status.”
Mintz notes that “… at the current pace, Garcia, who is too old for a federal program that aids some illegally brought into the country as youths, estimates he will not get his green card until about 2019 — and he does not want to wait that long to be eligible to be a lawyer.” This could be a valid issue, and the state bar wants to award the license, but when it takes four years to get a true day in court and you’re backed up about a QUARTER CENTURY in the immigration process, at what point is the “issue” a joke? And remember, the courts are slowing down with budget cuts.
“I’m very excited to get my day in court,” Garcia told the Mercury News, showing a gift for understatement that will serve him well if he actually becomes an attorney.