English m*****f***** do you speak it?

How much English do you have to be able to speak in order to hold elected office? I don’t know, but apparently justices in Arizona think they know it when they hear it.

Continuing Arizona’s quest to become the most racist state in the Union, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed a ruling that prevented Alejandrina Cabrera from running for a city council seat because she doesn’t speak English proficiently.

But we can’t just “blame whitey” for this one. Here we’ve got a Southwestern case of Latino-on-Latino crime.

Well, you know what they say: when in ‘Zona, do as the xenophobes do…

The controversy arose when San Luis Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla asked the court to look into whether Cabrera met Arizona’s requirement that office holders have English language proficiency. Cabrera argued that her English was fine, but a linguist said Cabrera had only a “survival level” of English. A Yuma county judge ruled that Cabrera’s name be stricken from the city council ballot.

The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed that ruling in a two-page order; a more detailed decision is forthcoming. So we still haven’t been told what “English proficiency” actually means. Does George W. Bush have it? I believe Lil Jon can only enunciate two English words; can he run for city council in some town in Arizona? I mean, Scooby-freaking-Doo can express himself clearly enough in English to perform the functions of most city council people. Watch:

ELIE: Council Member Scooby, the traffic light on 18th and Main is out.
The Honorable Doo: Ruh-roh.
ELIE: What can we give the teachers to prevent a strike?
The Honorable Doo: Scooby Snacks?
ELIE: How can you help the poor residents of… Scooby? Scooby?
The Honorable Doo: [Disappears.]

Does that fall below the standard of English proficiency the Arizona court may or may not tell us they’ve magically invented? And don’t even get me started on the fact that Cabrera probably speaks Spanish just fine, and if her constituents want to vote for her and her “survival”-level English skills, it should be up to them. For Christ’s sake, we’re about to let the Republicans nominate Rick Santorum (hahaha mwahahaha, holy s**t Republicans, sorry don’t let me interrupt you from trying to make access to contraception a wedge issue). Surely we can let the good people of San Luis decide for themselves if they want to elect Cabrera.

If you are thinking that there must be more going on here — like maybe Cabrera is actually the smoke monster from Lost, and they’re just using the English thing to be nice — you’d be on to something. From the Washington Post:

Cabrera, who last year launched two unsuccessful attempts to recall Escamilla as mayor, was one of 10 candidates who filed petitions to run for the council.

¿Cómo se dice “political retribution”?

I’m surprised that the courts got so involved in what appears to be a political squabble. But then again, this is Arizona. If there’s a chance to be racist or just rude to the Mexican-Americans or foreigners who together with the Grand Canyon keep Arizona from being as poor as Mississippi, the courts out there are going to take it.

AZ Supreme Court affirms ruling that bars candidate from running due to English proficiency
[Washington Post]
Ariz. Supreme Court Affirms Decision Keeping Candidate Off Ballot Because of Poor English Skills
[ABA Journal]


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