Arizona's English-only law ruled unconstitutional
April 29, 1998
Web posted at: 6:21 a.m. EDT (1021 GMT)
PHOENIX (CNN) -- A voter-approved English-only measure
that brought cries of racism in Arizona was ruled
unconstitutional Tuesday by the state's highest court.
In a unanimous decision, the Arizona Supreme Court said the
law requiring that official government business be conducted in
English unfairly interfered with the access to government by
those who did not speak the language.
The court also said that the 1988 amendment to the state's
constitution unlawfully restricted the free-speech rights of
public employees and elected officials.
But justices steered clear of stating that government must
provide services in another language -- other than those already
required by federal law.
Backers of the measure vowed Tuesday to take the issue to
the U.S. Supreme Court in light of the ruling in a state with a
sizeable Spanish-speaking population.
Arizona's English-only law states that not only is English Arizona's official
language, but that all government business must be transacted
in "English and in no other language." The requirement also
extends to all government documents.
Reuters contributed to this report.