Federal Court: Mexican-American Studies Unconstitutionally Banned In Arizona

lawnewz.com | 8/23/2017 | Colin Kalmbacher
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A federal judge in Arizona has ruled the state’s high-profile ban on ethnic studies programs was racially discriminatory in nature. That ruling means the ban is unconstitutional and therefore unlawful.

U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima found that Diane Douglas, Superintendent of Public Instruction in the State of Arizona, violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments by enforcing the ban which was used solely to target the Mexican-American studies program in the Tucson Unified School District.

Year - Arizona - Papers - Product - Discrimination

The ban–enacted the same year as Arizona’s similarly controversial “show me your papers” law–was widely viewed as the product of racial discrimination against Hispanics.

The plaintiffs in the case–teachers and students impacted by the ban–argued that their First Amendment right to receive information was violated in order to accommodate the racially charged views of resentful whites whose anger was being whipped up and exploited in order to achieve short-term political gain. Judge Tashima more or less agreed with that characterization of the ban. In the ruling, he wrote: “Both enactment and enforcement were motivated by racial animus.”

Opinion - Superintendents - Tom - Horne - John

The opinion also singled out former superintendents Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, Arizona Republicans who had been at the forefront of the campaign to dismantle Tucson’s Mexican-American studies program. The ruling noted that neither man had ever seen a single class being conducted in person. Rather, they had blithely railed against purportedly subversive bugbears embedded in the curriculum in an effort to manufacture racial division–and score political points–by calling for and celebrating the ban. Tashima wrote:

Both individuals...
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