Argument: US official language violates equal protection in court

Issue Report: English as US official language


Kathleen McDade. Should English Be the Official Language of the United States of America?Associated Content. January 18th, 2008: “Official English: Abridging People’s Rights The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution promises people equal protection under the law. The ACLU argues that adopting English-only would deprive people of this right – they might not be able to defend themselves effectively in a courtroom, for instance.”

“FACT SHEET: Why English Only-Legislation Violates Civil Rights.” The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium: “Fourteenth Amendment. English-only legislation violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment states that laws cannot discriminate against certain groups based on specific characteristics, such as race, gender, or national origin. In Hernandez v. New York, the Supreme Court held that language proficiency could be viewed as one of these classifications. Also, Asian American Business Group v. Pomona, equated the use of foreign languages as an expression of national origin. Such laws are dangerous because they are based on a rejection of unpopular national origin, motivated by a dislike of foreigners, and relegate limited-English proficiency groups to second-class citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment, under the due process clause, also ensures that every person has the opportunity to be heard and tried before any deprivation of life, liberty or property. The lack of any bilingual support for non-English speaking persons in the courts precludes them from utilizing the judicial system and to assert their rights and obtain fair hearings.”