OPINION OF THE COURT
We are called upon to determine whether an undocumented immigrant, who is authorized to be present in the United
We hold that a narrow reading of 8 USC § 1621 (d), so as to require a state legislative enactment to be the sole mechanism by which the State of New York exercises its authority granted in 8 USC § 1621 (d) to opt out of the restrictions on the issuance of licenses imposed by 8 USC § 1621 (a), unconstitutionally infringes on the sovereign authority of the State to divide power among its three coequal branches of government. Further, we hold, in light of this State's allocation of authority to the judiciary to regulate the granting of professional licenses to practice law (see Judiciary Law § 53 ), that the judiciary may exercise its authority as the state sovereign to opt out of the restrictions imposed by section 1621 (a) to the limited extent that those restrictions apply to the admission of attorneys to the practice of law in the State of New York. Accordingly, we answer the first question in the affirmative and the second question in the negative.
I. Facts Applicable to Cesar Adrian Vargas
The applicant, Cesar Adrian Vargas, was born in Puebla, Mexico, in September 1983. His mother brought him and his siblings to the United States when Mr. Vargas was 5 ½ years old, without lawful documentation to enter or remain in the
In accordance with the guidelines established by the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security (hereinafter DHS), Mr. Vargas submitted an application for deferred action from removal under a program entitled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (hereinafter DACA).
On October 25, 2012, while Mr. Vargas' DACA application was pending, he submitted an application for admission to practice law in the courts of the State of New York (hereinafter bar application) to the Committee on Character and Fitness for the Second Judicial Department (hereinafter the Character Committee). In his bar application, Mr. Vargas disclosed that he was not a citizen of the United States and that his immigration status was "without status." He further disclosed that he did not have a social security number, and reported his tax identification number in lieu thereof. However, Mr. Vargas also advised that he had submitted an application under DACA for deferred action from removal enforcement, and explained that upon approval of his DACA application, he would receive an employment authorization and would be eligible for a social security number. On or about February 19, 2013, Mr. Vargas' DACA application was approved by the DHS, Office of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (hereinafter USCIS). On April 16, 2013, Mr. Vargas notified the Character Committee that his DACA application had been approved by USCIS. Thereafter, he supplemented his bar application with copies of the USCIS Notice of Approval, an employment authorization
As required of all applicants for admission to the practice of law, Mr. Vargas' bar application was supported by several affidavits describing each respective affiant's relationship with Mr. Vargas and the affiant's opinion that he possessed the character and fitness necessary to practice law in the State of New York (see 22 NYCRR 520.12). A review of the affidavits reveals that Mr. Vargas disclosed to each affiant that he was an undocumented immigrant.
A subcommittee of the Character Committee conducted a hearing on Mr. Vargas' bar application on July 29, 2013 (see CPLR art 94; 22 NYCRR 690.6). In its written report, the subcommittee found that Mr. Vargas "appears to have stellar character," but recommended against his admission solely on the ground that it should be left to the Court to determine whether his eligibility for admission to practice law was barred by reason of his undocumented immigration status. Absent this legal issue, the subcommittee reported that it "would have no hesitation in recommending Mr. Vargas' admission to the New York Bar." The Full Committee on Character and Fitness for the Second, Tenth, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial
II. Law and Rules Governing the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors-at-Law in the State of New York
In New York, by legislative enactment, the Court of Appeals—the state's highest court—is vested with the rule-making authority to regulate "the admission of attorneys and counselors at law, to practice in all the courts of record of the state," subject to the state constitution and statutes (Judiciary Law § 53 ).
The Court of Appeals has succinctly summarized the authority of the judiciary in the admission process as follows:
As is relevant to the circumstances of Mr. Vargas' bar application, the governing statutory authority is limited, as it prescribes only that an applicant for admission to the practice of law obtain a certification from the New York State Board of Law Examiners that the applicant has passed the bar examination, that the applicant's character and general fitness for the practice of law has been favorably passed upon by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, and that the applicant has satisfied the requirements of General Obligations Law § 3-503 (see Judiciary Law § 90  [a]; CPLR 9401 et seq.). The pertinent requirements of General Obligations Law § 3-503 are that the applicant submit his or her social security number and a certification that the applicant is not in violation of child support obligations, if any (see General Obligations Law § 3-503 ). In all other respects, the rules governing the admission of attorneys and counselors-at-law, including the proof necessary to sit for the New York State bar examination, are established by the Court of Appeals of the State of New York and, significantly, for the purposes of our determination, not by the state legislature (see Judiciary Law §§ 53, 90; Rules of Ct of Appeals [22 NYCRR] part 520; see generally Matter of Anonymous, 78 NY2d at 230; Koeppel v Wachtler, 183 A.D.2d 808, 809 ; Matter of Sugarman, 51 A.D.2d 170, 171-172 ). There is no question that Mr. Vargas has met the relevant statutory eligibility standards.
As explained by the Court of Appeals in Matter of Anonymous (78 NY2d at 230), at the Appellate Division stage of the application process, the Court's jurisdiction is limited to a determination of whether the applicant "possesses the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counsellor-at-law" (Judiciary Law § 90  [a]; see Matter of Shaikh, 39 N.Y.2d 676, 680-681 ; see also Rules of Ct of Appeals [22 NYCRR] § 520.12 [a]). The scope of the authority of the Appellate Division to review and rule upon a bar admission application includes circumstances, as relevant here, where an applicant for admission receives an adverse decision from the Character Committee (see e.g. Rules of App Div, 2d Dept [22 NYCRR] § 690.17).
Significantly, although the standard bar application employed by the Appellate Division, including the form submitted by Mr. Vargas, contains an inquiry as to citizenship and, in the absence of citizenship, immigration status, neither the statutes enacted by the legislature nor the rules promulgated by the judiciary governing the admission of attorneys and counselors to practice in the state limit that privilege to citizens, those with lawful immigration status, or those aliens who are not immigrants but are lawfully in this country for a limited period of time pursuant to a visa (see Judiciary Law § 90  [a] [admission upon certification by New York State Board of Law Examiners], [b] [admission upon application "of any person who has been admitted to practice law in another state or territory or the District of Columbia of the United States or in a
III. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security announced a new discretionary enforcement policy entitled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Generally, the DACA policy provides for, as a matter of federal prosecutorial discretion, the deferral of removal enforcement action against certain individuals who came to the United States as children and without lawful documentation (hereinafter DACA relief or deferral of removal enforcement).
More specifically, in order to qualify for deferral of removal enforcement, an applicant is required to demonstrate that he or she was under the age of 16 years when he or she entered the United States and had not attained the age of 31 years as of June 15, 2012; has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to the initiation of the DACA program and presently resides in the United States; has no lawful status as of June 15, 2012; is enrolled in or has graduated from high school, has obtained a GED certificate, or was
IV. Mr. Vargas' Character and General Fitness to Practice Law
In carrying out the responsibility of passing upon the character and general fitness of an applicant for admission to the practice of law, we recognize that the practice of law is "limited to a few persons of good moral character, with special qualifications ascertained and certified after a long course of study" (Matter of Co-operative Law Co., 198 N.Y. 479, 483 ). A candidate for admission to the bar should generally possess those qualities of truth-speaking, honor, and strict observance of fiduciary responsibility "that have, throughout the centuries, been compendiously described as `moral character'" (Schware v Board of Bar Examiners of N. M., 353 U.S. 232, 247 [1957, Frankfurter, J., concurring]).
As previously indicated, absent the question raised by reason of Mr. Vargas' entry into, and remaining in, the United States without lawful documentation, the Character Committee found that he possessed the requisite character and general fitness for admission to the practice of law in the State of New York. We find that Mr. Vargas' undocumented immigration status, in and of itself, does not reflect adversely upon his general fitness to practice law. Mr. Vargas did not enter the United States in violation of the immigration laws of his own volition, but rather, came to the United States at the age of five at the hand of his mother. When considering the weight to be accorded to his unlawful entry, we are guided by the United States Supreme Court's long-standing recognition that "`visiting. . . condemnation on the head of an infant is illogical and unjust'" (Plyler v Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 220  [the undocumented status of the children vel non did not establish a sufficient rational basis for denying the educational benefits that the state afforded other residents], quoting Weber v Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164, 175 ). The logic of the Supreme Court's pronouncement is no less apt here than it
We find that the undocumented status of an individual applicant does not, alone, suggest that the applicant is not possessed of the qualities that enable attorneys to vigorously defend their client's interests within the bounds of the law, nor does it suggest that the applicant cannot protect, as an officer of the court, the rule of law and the administration of justice. Toward that end, we note that the states of California (see Cal Bus & Prof Code § 6064 [b]) and Florida (see Fla Stat § 454.021 ) have enacted statutes which specifically authorize the admission of certain persons without lawful immigration status to the practice of law provided they otherwise meet the eligibility standards for admission. Our sister states have thereby determined that the absence of lawful immigration status does not, per se, adversely reflect on the character and fitness of a person for admission to the practice of law.
To the extent the standard for the examination of the general fitness of an applicant to practice law in the State of New York shall include an evaluation of the applicant's familiarity with the law, that question is resolved by virtue of, inter alia, the applicant's graduation "with a first degree in law from an approved law school" (22 NYCRR 520.3 [a] ; see 22 NYCRR 520.4, 520.6) and having passed the examination administered by the New York State Board of Law Examiners (see Judiciary Law § 90 ; 22 NYCRR 520.2 [a]). Mr. Vargas graduated from and received a juris doctor degree from an approved law school and thereafter passed the New York State bar examination. Having satisfied the eligibility standards equally applicable to those similarly situated, and having been so certified by the New York State Board of Law Examiners, we find no rational basis to conclude that Mr. Vargas' status as an undocumented immigrant reflects adversely on his competence to practice law in the State of New York.
V. The Application of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act and 8 USC § 1621 et seq.
While the role of the Appellate Division in the bar admission process is ordinarily limited to the question of whether an individual candidate possesses the character and general fitness required for admission to the practice of law, 8 USC § 1621 compels us, as a matter of necessity, to consider not only Mr. Vargas' character and fitness, but also, whether that statute prevents us from exercising our authority. More directly, we
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (hereinafter PRWORA), as it relates to the issues before the Court, restricts the states from conferring certain state or local public benefits, including professional licenses, upon defined "aliens" in the absence of the enactment of a state law opting out of the federal restrictions (see 8 USC § 1621 [a], [c]  [A]; [d]).
In furtherance of our examination of the impact of 8 USC § 1621 on the question of bar admissions in New York, the Court solicited and received a brief from Mr. Vargas, and amicus curiae briefs from the Attorney General of the United States and the New York State Attorney General.
PRWORA, as applicable here, is codified in title 8 (aliens and nationality), chapter 14 (restricting welfare and public benefits for aliens), subchapter II (eligibility for state and local public benefits programs), section 1621 (aliens who are not qualified or nonimmigrants ineligible for state and local public benefits) of the United States Code. Section 1621 is a complex and highly nuanced set of rules, definitions, exceptions, and exemptions, commencing in the first instance with a double negative qualified by an exception: "except as provided . . . an alien who is not [e.g., a qualified alien] . . . is not eligible for any State or local public benefit" (8 USC § 1621 [a] [emphasis added]). More specifically, the legislation restricts the granting of state and local public benefits to aliens unless: the alien is rendered exempt under section 1621 (a) (1)-(3); the particular state or local public benefit is among those excluded under section 1621 (b) and not among those defined in section 1621 (c); or, as particularly applicable here, pursuant to section 1621 (d), where the state has exercised its authority to opt out of the restrictions by the enactment of a state law after August 22, 1996, to affirmatively provide for such eligibility.
Mr. Vargas is not exempt from the restrictions imposed by 8 USC § 1621, as he is not a "qualified alien," "nonimmigrant" alien, or parolee, as those terms have been defined by the United States Congress (see 8 USC § 1621 [a]; see also 8 USC §§ 1641, 1101 et seq., 1182 [d] ; see generally Tara Kennedy, Comment, Barred From Practice? Undocumented Immigrants
Bar admissions fall within the scope of the restrictions imposed by the federal statute because professional licenses are included among the specifically defined state and local benefits and because attorney admissions are financed by "appropriated funds" of the state (8 USC § 1621 [c]  [A]). Indeed, New York State's annual judiciary budget measurably funds the expenses of administering the state bar examinations, office rents for the staff of the Character Committee that oversees the screening of candidates for admission, the courtrooms where successful applicants are administered the oath of office of attorney and counselor-at-law, the salaries of the nonjudicial staff who assist in the administration of the application process, and, of course, the salaries of the members of the judiciary who ultimately pass on each individual application (see NY Const, art VI, § 28 [b]; art VII, § 1; Judiciary Law §§ 211  [c]; 212  [a]; L 2015, ch 51 [eff Apr. 1, 2015]).
Two state courts that have already examined the impact of the federal legislation on the bar admission process have both recognized that 8 USC § 1621 (d) authorizes a state to enact legislation making undocumented immigrants eligible for admission. In In re Garcia (58 Cal.4th 440, 315 P.3d 117), the Supreme Court of California, like our Court, was presented with an inquiry from its Committee of Bar Examiners as to whether an undocumented immigrant, who otherwise met the standards for admission to the bar, may be admitted to the practice of law (see In re Garcia, 58 Cal 4th at 446, 449, 315
In Florida Bd. of Bar Examiners re Question as to Whether Undocumented Immigrants are Eligible for Admission to the Fla. Bar (134 So.3d 432 [Fla 2014]), the Supreme Court of Florida was called upon to issue an advisory opinion as to whether an undocumented immigrant, who graduated from an accredited law school and who passed the state bar examination, and others who may be similarly situated, were eligible for admission to the Florida bar (see id. at 433). The Supreme Court of Florida held, "[t]he plain language of the statute and case law indicate that the phrase `enactment of a State law' requires a state legislature to address this appropriations-related issue and pass legislation, which the governor must either approve or permit to become the law of the State" (id. at 435, quoting 8 USC § 1621 [d]). In response to the advisory opinion, the Florida Legislature enacted Fla Stat § 454.021 (3), which authorizes the Supreme Court of Florida to admit to the Florida bar certain unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors, provided, inter alia, the applicant
In his appellate brief, Mr. Vargas takes the position that New York need not enact new legislation expressly permitting the admission of undocumented immigrants because an existing statute, Judiciary Law § 460, effectively operates as an opt-out provision authorized by 8 USC § 1621 (d). We disagree.
Initially, we note that Judiciary Law § 460 became law well before August 22, 1996—the threshold set forth in 8 USC § 1621 (d) after which a state may exercise its authority to opt out of the restrictions imposed by section 1621 (a). Since Judiciary Law § 460 predated 8 USC § 1621 (a), it cannot be viewed as a deliberately considered legislative determination to opt out of the restrictions imposed by the federal statute. For this reason alone, Judiciary Law § 460 cannot qualify as an opt-out provision as contemplated by 8 USC § 1621 (d).
In any event, even if a preexisting statute could qualify as an opt-out provision, we reject Mr. Vargas' contention that Judiciary Law § 460 is a legislative enactment sufficient to override the barriers imposed by section 1621 (a).
Judiciary Law § 460 provides: "Race, creed, color, national origin, alienage or sex shall constitute no cause for refusing any person examination or admission to practice" (emphasis added). The term "alienage," which was added to the statute in 1982 (L 1982, ch 133, § 29), is not defined in the Judiciary Law.
The term "alienage," as used in Judiciary Law § 460, is ambiguous. On the one hand, it may be expansively interpreted to prohibit the denial of New York law licenses to any person based upon the country of his or her birth, which would necessarily include Mr. Vargas despite his undocumented immigration status. Alternatively, "alienage" could more narrowly be construed as referring to persons who, while not citizens of the United States, are nevertheless present in the country only through legal means.
In view of this ambiguity, we may look to the history of Judiciary Law § 460 to help determine and give effect to the intent of the legislature (see Roberts v Tishman Speyer Props., L.P., 13 N.Y.3d 270,
We thus conclude that the legislative intent behind the word "alienage" as used in Judiciary Law § 460 does not extend to undocumented immigrants and, therefore, does not qualify as an opt out from 8 USC § 1621. The Judiciary Law's prohibition of discrimination in the issuance of law licenses based on alienage cannot extend to persons present in the United States under DACA, as DACA does not confer upon the individual lawful immigration status (see Arizona Dream Act Coalition v Brewer, 757 F3d at 1058; Florida Bd. of Bar Examiners, 134 So 3d at 436; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA], http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca [updated Feb. 19, 2015], cached at http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/webdocs/Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)_USCIS.pdf).
VI. The Application of the Tenth Amendment
It is well settled that the federal government is possessed of broad and undoubted plenary authority over matters involving immigration arising from its constitutional power to, inter alia, "establish a[ ] uniform Rule of Naturalization" (US Const, art I, § 8, cl 4; see Arizona v United States, 567 US at ___, 132 S Ct at 2498; Toll v Moreno, 458 U.S. 1, 10 ; Florida Bd. of Bar Examiners, 134 So 3d at 434; In re Garcia, 58 Cal 4th at 452-453,
Narrowly read, it would appear that 8 USC § 1621 et seq. expressly preempt the authority of the State from issuing professional licenses. However, under a more holistic reading, including a consideration of the underlying purposes of PRWORA (see 8 USC § 1601),
In light of the opt-out provision offered by 8 USC § 1621 (d), we reject the assertion of the United States that the statute constitutes a "comprehensive ban [or prohibition] on the receipt of benefits from the state."
As previously discussed, section 1621 (d) has been construed by courts in California and Florida to require the passage of an act by a state legislature, and that it be signed into law by the state's governor, as the mechanism by which a state must express its intention to opt out of the restrictions imposed by section 1621 (a) (see Florida Bd. of Bar Examiners, 134 So 3d at 435; In re Garcia, 58 Cal 4th at 456, 315 P3d at 127; Martinez v Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 50 Cal 4th at 1295-1296, 241 P3d at 866-868; see generally League of United Latin Am. Citizens v Wilson, 997 F Supp at 1253 [general description of the opt-out procedure to provide immigrant eligibility for state benefits]). However, neither the California Supreme Court nor the Florida Supreme Court was asked to consider the issue of whether 8 USC § 1621 (d) violates the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the individual states all powers not expressly delegated to the federal government (see US Const Amend X). That issue is squarely raised here by the State of New York, which argues that 8 USC § 1621 (d), by prescribing the enactment of a state law as the method by which individual states can exercise the right to opt out of the restrictions imposed by section 1621 (a), is violative of the Tenth Amendment.
Turning now to that issue, we note that the prescribed process for opting out of the restrictions imposed by section 1621 (a) is at odds with New York's bar eligibility and admission structure where, by legislative enactment, the authority over bar eligibility and the admission process rests neither with the executive nor the legislative branch of government, but with
We recognize that it is unusual for a state court to pass judgment on the constitutionality of some aspect of a federal statute. However, this is not the first time that a state court has had occasion to do so (see e.g. Pierce County v Guillen, 537 U.S. 129, 138-139  [upon certiorari from the Supreme Court of Washington, reviewing the enforceability of portions of 23 USC § 409]; Harding v Harding, 99 Cal.App.4th 626, 121 Cal.Rptr.2d 450  [reviewing enforceability of the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (28 USC § 1738B)]). We do so here mindful that our review must be exercised most sparingly. Nevertheless, we hold that the processes by which a state chooses to exercise, by one of its coequal branches of government, the authority granted by the federal legislation is not a legitimate concern of the federal government.
The ability, indeed the right, of the states to structure their governmental decision-making processes as they see fit is essential to the sovereignty protected by the Tenth Amendment. Accordingly, we reject the further argument advanced by the United States that the application of the Tenth Amendment to the question of whether the opt-out provision of section 1621 (d) should be exercised by legislative enactment is not at issue.
"[T]he States entered the federal system with their sovereignty intact" (Blatchford v Native Village of Noatak, 501 U.S. 775, 779 ). The Tenth Amendment preserves the integrity of state sovereignty and rests on the principle that freedom
The Tenth Amendment is implicated here because although Congress has left the ultimate determination whether to extend public benefits, including professional licensure, to the states, it has, at the same time, prescribed the mechanism by which the states may exercise that authority. Where, as here, New York, by its own legislative enactment, has determined that the state judiciary is the sovereign authority vested with the responsibility for formulating the eligibility qualifications and processes governing the admission of attorneys and counselors to the practice of law, that limitation cannot withstand scrutiny under the Tenth Amendment (see Bates v State Bar of Ariz., 433 U.S. 350, 360  [in its capacity as the "ultimate body wielding the State's power over the practice of law," the Supreme Court of Arizona, in its rule-making capacity, is acting as the state sovereign]; see also Goldfarb v Virginia State Bar, 421 U.S. 773, 791 ).
An analogy may be found in Gregory v Ashcroft (501 U.S. 452 ). In Gregory, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by Missouri state judges who argued that a Missouri statute
Although Gregory addressed the state's interest in determining who holds office, the State of New York has no less an interest in determining which of its branches of government is empowered to exercise the discretion authorized by section 1621 (d) to determine who may be licensed as an attorney and counselor-at-law. Indeed, the role of New York courts in regulating attorneys is deliberate, well-considered, and time-tested. There are sound reasons why, in New York, the responsibility for attorney admissions is vested in the state's judiciary rather than in other branches or departments of government. As Judge Benjamin Cardozo declared nearly 90 years ago, an attorney is "an officer of the court, and, like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice" (People ex rel. Karlin v Culkin, 248 N.Y. 465, 470-471 ). Consistent therewith, the judicial branch is responsible for formulating and overseeing a variety of rules governing the admission and conduct of attorneys. These include the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR part 1200), the State Board of Law Examiners (22 NYCRR part 6000), the 50-hour pro bono requirement for new attorney admissions (22 NYCRR 520.16), the licensure of legal consultants (22 NYCRR part 521), the admission of counsel pro hac vice (22 NYCRR 520.11), the payment of biennial attorney registration fees (22 NYCRR 118.1 [g]), the parameters of attorney advertising (Rules of Professional Conduct [22 NYCRR 1200.0] rule 7.1), the requirements for attorney-client retainer agreements (22 NYCRR 1215.1, 1400.3), and the imposition of discipline upon attorneys who violate the state's ethics rules (Judiciary Law § 90 ).
The mere fact that the state government decision here involves undocumented immigrants, whose presence in the United States is governed by federal immigration laws and the discretionary policy of DHS, does not and cannot, consistent with the core principles of state sovereignty guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment, vest in the federal government the right to take away from the state its authority to determine which
Again, we note that chapter 14 of title 8 specifically declares the policy of the federal government that aliens should be "self-sufficien[t]" and that they "not depend on public resources to meet their needs, but rather rely on their own capabilities" (8 USC § 1601 ,  [A]). Considering the express federal immigration policy, we find that the imposition of a barrier to the granting of professional licenses to qualified persons that does not recognize the sovereignty of the state to determine which of its coequal branches of government should exercise the authority granted by section 1621 (d) is counterproductive to the stated purposes of that policy.
Thus, giving all deference to the federal government's supreme authority to regulate immigration and to determine immigration policy, because the opt-out provision of 8 USC § 1621 (d) as it applies to the question of the admission of attorneys and counselors-at-law to the practice of law in the State of New York is constitutionally infirm, we reject its authority to mandate the governmental mechanism by which the state may exercise its discretion to opt out of the restrictions imposed by section 1621 (a). We hold that a decision to opt out from the restrictions imposed by 8 USC § 1621, to the limited extent that it governs the admission of attorneys as professional licensees, may be lawfully exercised by the judiciary in order to be consistent with the Judiciary Law of the State of New York and the sovereignty guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment.
Finding no legal impediment or rational basis for withholding the privilege of practicing law in the State of New York from undocumented immigrants who have been granted DACA relief, we exercise the discretion authorized under section 1621 (d) and declare that such persons may be admitted to the practice of law provided they otherwise, each individually, meet
On the record before us, we are satisfied that Mr. Vargas meets the standards by which all candidates for admission to the practice of law are judged and that he is eligible for admission to practice law in the State of New York.
VII. Publication of This Opinion and Order
Admission decisions are ordinarily matters considered in camera by the Character Committee and ultimately determined by the Appellate Division upon the application of the Character Committee without a formal opinion determining the application. Recognizing the effect this determination will have on the practice of law in the State of New York and potentially on the practice of law in our sister states, we elect to publish this opinion and order to the public at large.
In light of the foregoing, the application of Cesar Adrian Vargas for admission to the practice of law in the State of New York is hereby granted, subject to his submission of satisfactory proof that he has completed the pro bono service requirement of 22 NYCRR 520.16, the taking of the required oath, and the signing of the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law.
Ordered that the application of Cesar Adrian Vargas for admission to the practice of law in the State of New York is hereby granted, subject to his submission of satisfactory proof that he has completed the pro bono service requirement of 22 NYCRR 520.16, the taking of the required oath, and the signing of the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law.