Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 12:20:28 +0100


Subject: for English only

Here's a copy of my note on the court question:

Can a state pass legislation that

violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment to the US

Constitution? English first maybe, but I question that. English Only?

Federal law takes precedence over state law. In Meyer v. Nebraska (1923),

the US Supreme Court ruled that Nebraska could not prohibit the teaching of

foreign languages in its public and private schools. The case was decided

on equal protection, in this case the right of f.l. instructors to pursue

their profession, and the right of parents to decide their children's


A couple of years ago the US Court of Appeals (9th circuit?) ruled

Arizona's official English law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds:

the law prohibited state employees from conducting business in any language

other than English. The governor of Arizona, who opposed the law anyway,

did not appeal that decision.

Other state official language laws have withstood constitutional tests or

have not been challenged.



Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Department of English office: 217-333-2392

University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321

608 South Wright Street home: 217-384-1683

Urbana, Illinois 61801