Monday, February 6, 2012

Quotation for Today: What First Amendment Rights?

The quotation for today offers up an opportunity to assess if the Constitution of the United States applies to all its citizens or not.

"It's not just about what will happen to Alejandrina. What will happen if someone has a problem with someone's accent? I think Judge Nelson opened up Pandora's box."
Ryan Hengl

Mr. Hengl is an attorney for Alejandrina Cabrera; candidate for a city council position in San Luis, Arizona. Judge John Nelson is a Yuma County superior court judge who has ruled that Ms. Cabrera's English language skills are not sufficient for her to hold public office.

This egregious ruling by Judge Nelson is another of many court rulings that fit well in the pantheon of Jim Crow and Juan Crow legal decisions. I wonder how many primarily Italian- and German-speaking Americans were elected to public office in the early 20th Century; but we can't have any of those brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking candidates elected to public office in Arizona.

Note: The United States' Census Bureau puts the population of San Luis, Arizona at more than 98% Latino.

Lopez, Ricardo. "Arizona English-fluency case may have wide repercussions." Los Angeles Times 5 February, 2012: online edition.

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