AZ Ban on Mexican American Studies Ruled Constitutional

On Friday a federal judge ruled that a 2010 law banning Mexican American studies in Tuscon, Arizona, is constitutional.

Federal Judge Wallace Tashima of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appealsdetermined that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the law was too broad or violated student first amendment rights. Only one part of the law was struck down – a clause that prohibited courses “designed primarily for peoples of a particular ethnic group.”

Judge Tashima warned that the law did border on discrimination by saying, “This single-minded focus on terminating the MAS (Mexican-American Studies) program, along with Horne’s decision not to issue findings against other ethnic studies programs, is at least suggestive of discriminatory intent.” But he continued, “Although some aspects of the record may be viewed to spark suspicion that the Latino population has been improperly targeted, on the whole, the evidence indicates that Defendants targeted the MAS program, not Latino students, teachers or community members who participated in the program.”

Richard Martinez, the plaintiff’s lawyer, has already announced that he plans to appeal the decision. Martinez told the Huffington Post “This case is not over. It’s not only important to Arizona, but to the country as a whole that this statute be addressed.”

Passed in May 2010, the law bans classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”


Associated Press 3/11/2013; Huffington Post 3/11/2013; New York Times 3/11/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/13/2010

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