Ninth Circuit Wonders or Blunders


A recent ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court (Padilla vs. Lever) states that political material in a political jurisdiction must be in all applicable languages of that jurisdiction, not just English.  The Ninth Circuit Court covers the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Let's consider the applicable languages in the nine States that the Ninth Circuit Court covers.  They are: Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Italian, Korean, Russian, Hindi, Persian, Urdu, Gujarati, Serbo-Croatian, Finnish, Armenian, Hebrew, Mon Khmer, Navaho, Yiddish, Hmong, Lao, Thai, Hungarian, Achumawi, Ahtena, Alelut, Apache, Assiniboine, Atsugewi, Blackfoot, Cahuilla, Chehalis, Chetco, Cheyenne, Chinook Wawa, Clallam, Cocopa, Coeur D'Alene, Columbia-Wenatchi, Coos, Cowlitz, Cree, Crow, Cupeno, Degexit'an, Ekyak, Gros Ventre, Gwidh'in, Haida, Han, Havasupai-Walapai-Yavapi, Hawaiian, Holikachuk, Hopi, Hupa, Inuktitut, Kalapuya, Kalispel-Pen Dórreille, Karok, Kashaya, Kato, Kawaiisu, Klamath-Modoc, Koyukon, Kumiai, Kuskokwim, Kutenai, Luiseno, Lushootseed, Maidu, Makah, Maricopa, Miwok, Mohave, Mono, Nez Perce, Nisenan, Okangan, Paiute, Panamint, Papago-Pima, Pomo, Quechan, Quinault, Salish, Serrano, Shasta, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Tanacross, Tanaina, Tenino, Tewa, Tlingit. Tolowa, Tsimshian, Tubatulabal, Tututni, Umatilla, Ute, Walla Walla, Wasco-Wishram, Washo, Wintu Yakima, Yakui, Yokuts, Yuki, Yupik, and Yurok.  I've probably missed several and please forgive me if I have.

The United States' language is American English referred to as English.  It is used for legislation, regulations, executive orders, treaties, federal court rulings, and all other offical pronouncements.  Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have adopted English as their official language.  Only Hawaii is officially bilingual speaking Hawaiian English and Hawaiian.

Our forefathers had the vision to simplify language in the United States.  In order to become a citizen of the United States, an applicant must be able to read, write, speak and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language.  The applicant had to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history and of the principles and form of government of the United States.  The questions on the Naturalization Test proved the applicant had a knowledge and understanding of the English language.

Since a person must be a citizen of the United States to vote, why are people in this day and age crying for material to be multilingual?  The only exceptions in naturalization where a person would not have an understanding of the English language would be those having a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects the person's ability to learn U.S. History and Government.  Surely, not all citizens of the United States who speak another language are physically or mentally impaired.  Where's the need for multilingual material.  If you're a citizen of the United States, act like one.  You're suppose to have an ordinary usage in the English language.


A double standard

I actually don't have any objection to the principle of multi-lingual ballots, multi-lingual petitions, multi-lingual candidate statements, etc., etc.  I do have an objection to the manner in which this law is being enforced.  Three months after we turn in a set of petitions in which we followed all the relevant laws, now they change the rules on us, and all of our work counts for nothing?

And now I've learned of another problem.  Our neigbors to the north, Temple City, are involved in a development fight of their own.  They were going to try to circulate a petition to ask for a referendum on the ordinance that allowed a higher-density development.  But now they are being told by their city's attorney that they [the citizen's organization] will need to translate the ordinance they are challenging into Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Friends, Temple City didn't have to translate the ordinance into anything other than English.  If non-English speakers wanted to have input on the lawmaking process, they needed to be able to read and speak in English before the city council.

But now, if you want to challenge a piece of legislation that was written, debated, and adopted in only in English, a grassroots organization needs to pay to have a city ordinance translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese?  A grassroots organization needs to pay for something that the city did not have to pay for, and needs to jump through hoops that the city council did not have to jump through?

That federal circuit court decision needs to be clarified.  Currently, it's being enforced in a completely arbitrary and capricious manner, and one that benefits those in power at the expense of those who would challenge the powerful.  Please read the post on contacting your federal elected officials, and please tell them what mess Padilla has wrought.

If only there were a 13th Federal Circuit. . .

Poking around the Internet, I came across a "case" handed down by the 13th Federal Circuit, concerning sec. 203 of the Voting Rights Act.

Now, some of you may already realize that, "Hey, there is no 13th Federal Circuit."  Yep, you're right.  The "case" was actually part of a final exam for a law school class at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Well, for what it's worth [and it's worth nothing, except that some future lawyers coming out of Missouri are now more aware of the inequity of living in the Ninth Federal Circuit], in that case, sec. 203 was not interpreted as requiring multilingual petitions.

So, if you want to read a non-decision from a non-existent court [just for giggles, you understand]: