Arizona Supreme Court: Political Candidates Must Speak English (Dammit)

Categories: Law and Order
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gulagbound.com
The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld an age-old law requiring everyone seeking political office in the state be proficient in the English language.

To put it in nativist terms, "Speak English, dammit."

Alejandrina Cabrera was trying to run for a city council seat in San Luis -- where 88 percent of people speak a language other than English at home, according to the latest census statistics.

Additionally, almost 99 percent of people in the city identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino in the last census.

This question over English-speaking came up in December, when San Luis Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla challenged Cabrera's candidacy, and a court agreed with the mayor.

Varitaions of Arizona's law mandating that anyone seeking public office be proficient in English have been around since before statehood, and it made its way into the state constitution.

The Supreme Court's ruling notes that the state constitution calls for candidates to have "sufficient English proficiency to conduct the duties of the office without the aid of an interpreter."

"The most plausible and harmonious reading of the statute is that it requires a sufficient level of proficiency of the English language to conduct the duties of the office without the aid of an interpreter," the ruling says.

Even though there's no specific test for this language requirement, the court didn't find anything unfair about a linguistics expert who testified in trial court that Cabrera "could not adequately function as a Council member in the Council meetings."

If you check out the decision (which can be found here), you'll see that the court didn't find much to agree with in any of Cabrera's challenges to the law.

Still, it was an issue that probably needed a definitive answer -- you can read about some of the intricacies of the language issue in this New York Times story -- and Arizona has it's answer: your politicians will know how to speak English.


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11 comments
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As an non-citizen (i have a green card) from Switzerland the first thing I decided is that if you are in the US you speak English.  I Tucson there are household 3 generations and only the 10 years old can speak English.  Or you go in a store and all the they tell you " no understand".  No need to print all legal document in 15 foereing languages ( San Francisco) when in the US speak English.

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StegsNewton
StegsNewton

I like it. Take that filthy pig latin back where it came from.

javierbaz
javierbaz

Speaking English should be required because this is the United States of America.

coyote_slim
coyote_slim

There isn't a single politician in Arizona that speaks English. The dummies speak the Amerikan and that's inherently dummied down for consumer appeal.

Ross
Ross

And New Times bloggers should be able to demonstrate proficiency in use of "it's" and "its."

robert_graham
robert_graham topcommenter

Good because this is the USA, not Mexico and our official language is English not Spanish.

StegsNewton
StegsNewton

Damn liberals in this country support every manner of bad behavior including laziness, welfare, and crime. That don't want browns and blacks to integrate into America society. That's where they get thier votes - from the division. Every piece of shit in America eventually becomes a demonrat so they can kill babies, smoke dope, and bugger each other or munch each other's carpet and receive government handouts and protection. All of the workers, business owners, professionals, and the good citizens are Non-Demonrat. You probably already know this things but I just wanted to reiterate the facts for my own enjoyment.

TruConserv
TruConserv

 @JoeArpaioFan No, it's not.  The USA has no official language.

 

You really don't know very much about America do you?

Ross
Ross

 @JoeArpaioFan

Too bad the Baltimore City Council didn't see it that way in the early 1900s, when they were still conducting meetings in German.  But, what do you propose we do about Puerto Rico?  Give it to Spain?  Or the Cubans in Florida, so they can stop meddling in our politics?

woefatcat
woefatcat

 @TruConserv He knows that as an American he is to have strictly racist views on any one who is outlandishly hued. He must drink Sheriff Joes Kool Aid daily. When his Mommy is home he has her help him post screeds in support of the Sheriff and when she is away he tears pages from Playgirl and tapes Paul Babeu's and Joe Arpaio's faces over the faces of the models. But all in all JoeArpaio('s)(biggest)Fan is mostly amusing.

Viton
Viton

@Ross @JoeArpaioFan German in Baltimore? That's comical. You have your geography jumbled. By the way, the governor of Puerto Rico has just instituted a plan to radically increase English among Puerto Ricans. English is the global language of business.

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