Date: Sat, 18 May 1996 13:31:30 +0000
From: "Albert E. Krahn" akrahn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IBM.NET
Subject: English only
Dennis Baron wrote:
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 21:32:34 -0500
From: Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU
Subject: Re: English Only Amendment
Illinois has had an official language since 1923, when American was
declared the language of the state. This law was put through by an
anti-British coalition of Irish and Jewish Chicago pols, who wanted to
express their displeasure at the treatment by the mother country of Ireland
In 1969 the law was quietly amended to make _English_ the official
language. But it has had no practical effect. It is laws like that of
Arizona, which the US Supreme Court has recently agreed to review, that can
actually be punitive. The AZ law forbids government employees from using
any language other than English in the course of their jobs. It was
declared unconstitutional on 1st amendment grounds by the US Circuit Court.
The Supreme Court will also rule on the broader issue of whether states
can make laws establishing an official language.
Copies of federal legislation currently being considered (the Language of
Government Act and constitutional amendments, together with comments by
supporters and opponents which appear in the Congressional Record, are
available on Thomas, the Library of Congress Web Site. I have just received
a transcript of the hearings held last October on language legislation.
Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]uiuc.edu
Department of English office: 217-333-2392
University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321
608 S. Wright Street home: 217-384-1683
Urbana, IL 61801
Wisconsin is working on one of these stupid laws, too.
Do you think we could sue the Attorney General if the law passes and get him
to change his name to General Attorney -- and alter all the records from the
past hundred years to read in proper English word order? Perhaps we could
drag the Surgeon General into court, too, especially whenever he talks in
Latin and Greek words instead of translating aureomycin into golden fungus.
Or maybe the judges could be fined if they uttered such things as habeas
corpus. I wonder what the ACLU would think about it. After all, what's sauce
for the goose . . . .