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

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)