Honorary Admission Granted for Japanese-American Trailblazer, 061517 CABJ, CBJ - June 2017 #03

 
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Honorary Admission Granted for Japanese-American Trailblazer

No. 2017 #03

California Bar Journal

June 15, 2017

The California Supreme Court in May granted honorary posthumous admission to the State Bar for Sei Fujii, a Japanese-American who earned a law degree from U.S.C. School of Law but was barred from becoming a lawyer due to discriminatory exclusion laws that have since been overturned.

"Though Fujii both graduated from law school and made his career in California, throughout his entire professional life he was barred from obtaining a license to practice law in the state. This was an injustice that we repudiate today by granting Fujii honorary posthumous membership in the State Bar of California," the Supreme Court order said.

The order came two years after the California Supreme Court granted posthumous State Bar admission to Hong Yen Chang, who was denied a law license 125 years ago due to federal and state laws denying citizenship and employment to Chinese Americans.

Shortly before Fujii died in 1952, federal law was changed and he became a citizen.

Despite being unfairly sidelined from the legal profession, Fujii went on to make an impact by challenging the Alien Land Law of 1913, which barred immigrants...

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