Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 12:20:28 +0100
From: debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU
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]uiuc.edu
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