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Sotomayor’s opinion marks the Supreme Court’s first use of the term ‘undocumented immigrant.’

By Amanda Terkel on December 9, 2009 at 11:40 am

"Sotomayor’s opinion marks the Supreme Court’s first use of the term ‘undocumented immigrant.’"

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Sonia Sotomayor Yesterday, the Supreme Court “released its first four decisions in argued cases this term,” including one marking Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s debut. The case concerned “whether federal trial-court rulings concerning the lawyer-client privilege may be appealed right away,” to which Sotomayor said no. The New York Times notes one particularly noteworthy part of Sotomayor’s opinion:

In an otherwise dry opinion, Justice Sotomayor did introduce one new and politically charged term into the Supreme Court lexicon.

Justice Sotomayor’s opinion in the case, Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter, No. 08-678, marked the first use of the term “undocumented immigrant,” according to a legal database. The term “illegal immigrant” has appeared in a dozen decisions.

Terms like “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” are considered pejorative and offensive by immigrants rights organizations. (HT: ImmigrationProf Blog)

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