Skip to comments.CA: Federal appeals court rules English-only petitions legal (9th Circuit overturns earlier ruling)
Posted on 09/19/2006 4:51:55 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Circulating recall petitions in languages other than English is not necessary, a federal appeals court ruled in a local school board case Tuesday.
The 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an earlier decision by a three-judge panel that found the petitions must be translated into other languages.
"The expense and trouble of fulfilling the translation requirements are likely to deter proponents who otherwise would launch petitions," the opinion stated.
A lawsuit challenging the legality of a 2003 election that resulted in the recall of Santa Ana Unified School District trustee Native Lopez was filed by plaintiffs who claimed they mistakenly signed an English-language petition.
The plaintiffs, represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, argued that the federal Voting Rights Act requires that election materials be printed in languages other than English if more than 5 percent of a region's voters speak another language.
But the appeals court found that the law, which covers ballots and other government-produced election materials, cannot be applied to petitions that are circulated and paid for by private citizens.
The court noted that if translation were required in Orange County, recall petitions would have to be printed in Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese. Rather than promote, that would prevent individuals from participating in the electoral process, according to the court's opinion.
"A requirement of translation for recall petitions is far more likely to be used as a sword than a shield, as in the case of the plaintiffs here, who brought their suit to stop an election for which sufficient signatures had been collected," the court ruled.
MALDEF attorney Nina Perales said the court took an overly restrictive stance on the issue of language minority provisions in the law.
"As a result, language minority voters are not going to be able to participate in that part of the political process where the petition is circulated and the voters really decide what is going to go on the ballot," she said.
One of the attorneys for the school district praised the ruling.
"Our role on behalf of the school district was to discourage the court from ordering another recall election, so we are of course satisfied from that point of view," said attorney Bill Shaeffer. "The district achieved its purpose. They wanted to make sure they did not go through the expense of another recall election."
WOW! This from the 9th Circuit? What's this world coming to?
"The 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an earlier decision by a three-judge panel that found the petitions must be translated into other languages.
"The expense and trouble of fulfilling the translation requirements are likely to deter proponents who otherwise would launch petitions," the opinion stated."
further as the court cannot now, nor in the foreseeable future read or translate, farsi, sanskrit, hindu, mandarin, tabuole, gaucamole or penguin, neither should the rest of the state be compelled to do so.
They must have drawn a 3 judge panel from the 9th circus who are in the distinct minority---not insane.
Oops, they got 11 judges from the 9th to overturn 3 insane ones. That is progress.
Even a blind dog occasionally finds a hydrant ...
9th Court is doing something right???
Wow! This is great!
Maybe these so called judges have seen the hue and cry to dissolve the 9th circuit.
What was the first?
To check and see if the people they claim as dependents live there and whether the absent spouse does or doesn't live there.
Was on FR but don't remember title.
Thanks. I remember that one. I sure hope it doesn't get overturned.
Maybe they're getting tired of being overturned?
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But in a case involving the Santa Ana Unified School District, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the requirement did not apply to recall petitions written and circulated by citizens.
The court reversed a decision last year by a 9th Circuit panel that said petitions to recall Santa Ana school board Trustee Nativo V. Lopez in 2003 should have been printed in Spanish as well as English. Lopez was recalled by a large margin.
The judges also said that translating recall petitions into different languages in a place such as Orange County, which has a large and diverse population, would be costly and have a "chilling effect on the petition process."
Judge Stephen Reinhardt concurred with the majority opinion written by Judge William C. Canby Jr. but said Congress should change the law to include recall petitions under the Voting Rights Act.
In a sharply worded dissent, Judge Harry Pregerson wrote, "English-only petitions would perpetuate the very injustice the Voting Rights Act seeks to eliminate" and said the majority interpreted the law too narrowly.
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