English to Finally Be Spoken in Maryland

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Taneytown, MD (distance from Mexican border: about 1800 miles) has drawn a line in the sand and declared English its official language.

The Taneytown resolution, which calls for all city government business to be conducted in English except where prohibited by state or federal law, was submitted this summer by Councilman Paul E. Chamberlain Jr.

"This issue is not about giving up your native tongue," Chamberlain said during last night's council meeting. "All we are asking is, if you become a U.S. citizen, you learn to speak English. What is so controversial about making English our official language?"

Even if the Congress and president end up signing a path to legalization, it seems likely that most states and towns are going to progressively mandate English-only until (or if) courts smack them back down.

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  1. So they can’t, for example, hire translators for public meetings, or print flyers for those meetings in other languages.

    Yup, discouraging immigrants from participating in community events sure is great way to encourage assimilation.

  2. Don’t let the irrationality of anti-immigrant folks affect you. What does the town’s distance from the mexican border have to do with anything. are you suggesting that there are no spanish speakers in maryland?

  3. I hope some border town doesn’t declare Spanish the official language. Check that. I hope they definitely do within the next week.

  4. We’ll all be speaking Mandarin in 50 years anyway (not as our primary language, but the way most of the world uses English now as a de facto universal language).

  5. “By the time Bart’s 18, we’ll control the world! We’re China, right?”

  6. De Stijl,

    People say that, but more Chinese learn English than English speakers learn Chinese. Also why Mandarin and not Cantonese? As long as English continues to be the second language of choice, it will be the world lingua franca of the actual numbers of native speakers. The vast majority of people in the ancient near east spoke languages like Aramaic, Coptic and Persian and few were actually native Greek speakers, yet Koine Greek was still the lingua franca.

  7. What is so controversial about making English our official language?

    Good question.

    So they can’t, for example, hire translators for public meetings, or print flyers for those meetings in other languages.

    Why should they spend the taxpayers’ money to do so?

    Yup, discouraging immigrants from participating in community events sure is great way to encourage assimilation.

    You cannot be assimilated into this country unless you speak English, so I look at this kind of thing as declining to facilitate non-assimilation.

  8. Whats the big fuckin deal, by the second generation English becomes the primary language anyway. I guess you got to score your cheap political points where you can get um. Of course in a hundred years people will probably have chips in their noggins that will do the translating for them.

  9. “but more Chinese learn English than English speakers learn Chinese”

    Teh Chinamen are inscrutable.

  10. Shouldn’t that be “English Finally to be Spoken in Maryland”?

  11. I have no problem with the way that people in Maryland speak.

    The way they drive, however, is another story.

    I never thought that I’d miss LA drivers.

  12. If there is a 70 year old granny somewhere who ain’t speakin’ English, I wanna find her, and I wanna kick her!!

    RC Dean: Is there a constitutional reason for granting government the power to declare one single language? You worry about government intrusion, and yet you advocate government intrusion into personal communication. Very nice. I suspect they hire translators so that people have notice and can be heard on issues of public importance. But screw that due process crap. Speak-a-zee-English M’Fer! The main mistake you’ve made, RC Dean, is that you are confusing the assimilation of each and every individual with assimilating a culture. Most families are bilingual by the second generation, and many times lose the native language altogether by the third. And you were saying something about assimilation?

  13. Did any of the states that have made English the official language actually put any teeth into it? Or is it just a moral thing?

    I imagine that some state will prevent people who don’t speak English from getting drivers’ licenses. This’ll get challenged on several grounds, but the strongest one is a violation of the dormant commerce clause (the federal governmnet can make laws regulating interstate commerce, but the states are forbidden from doing anything that will). Cars are about as interstate commercey as it gets. I don’t know how it’ll do when it gets to the Supreme Court, but it could lead to a huge turdstorm a la flag-burning, and Congress will end up either making English the official language or (preferably, if they have to do anything) declaring that English only statutes that effect driver’s license statutes are okay.

  14. RC nails it here. Further, all we have to do to make English the de facto language of the U.S. (and, increasingly, the rest of the world) is to do what native American’s are best at doing — not learn any foreign languages. I, for one, have proudly done my part!

  15. How ’bout this radical proposal: government should conform to the people, not the other way around.

  16. All people named Shecky are comedians.

  17. Is there a constitutional reason for granting government the power to declare one single language?

    Its local government, so the federal Constitution doesn’t really come into play unless you are willing to argue that it guarantees the right to have government business conducted in multiple languages. If this is your argument, I would be interested in seeing the clause(s) that contain this heretofore undiscovered provision.

    government should conform to the people, not the other way around.

    The town is merely declaring that it will conduct its business in English, and in no way restricts anyone else from conducting their business in any language they please. It is not requiring anyone to conform to anything.

  18. “Is there a constitutional reason for granting government the power to declare one single language?”

    If you mean forcing people in their private lives to speak one language, absolutely not. But that is not what we are talking about. This is about whether the government should spend the extra money to operate in two languages. My response to that is that the governmetn already takes too much of my money. If you want to suck from the government tit, fuck you learn English or bring someone with you who does. What you speak in the home or in public is your own business. It is not mine or the government’s obligation to make any special arrangments for your inability to speak English.

  19. RC Dean gets it right, assimilation means you learn the local lingo. My mother was an immigrant and had to learn english to become a citizen. She and millions of other immigrants have learned english, what’s the big deal? If any person immigrates to America and thinks it’s unreasonable to learn english, fine, let him stick to his old language & isolate himself. I couldn’t imagine moving to Mexico and refusing to learn spainish, how stupid that would be.

    Lamar:

    “You advocate government intrusion into personal communication”.

    If a person living in the US doesn’t want to learn english, no-one is going to make them. Making english the official language doesn’t prohibit using other languages to communicate in. If an immigrant want to become a citizen, let them learn english, then they will know at least two languages. Someone who doesn’t waht to adapt is being hard-headed and can go back home if they can’t hack it here.

  20. John, you are assuming that one has a choice of interacting with the local government.

  21. “This is about whether the government should spend the extra money to operate in two languages.”
    John, with all due respect, this is not just a spending issue. As RC Dean noted, it is an assimilation/cultural issue.

    I think any measure that acts to restrict the access of a citizen to government is generally bad. When you talk about a town “conducting” business, I assume you are speaking of business that involves property rights or personal rights. I don’t think learning English is the admission price for exercising the rights granted to all American citizens. When I asked about a Constitutional prerogative, I was asking for an enabling clause, something that gives government the power to restrict public communication. Of course, if you are looking for a restrictive clause, there is the due process clause, applicable to the states via the 14th Amendment, which says that you can’t infringe on somebody’s rights without due process. Notice is key to any due process analysis as is the ability to understand the rights involved. Take these things away from American citizens, and you’ve done way more than save a few government bucks.

  22. RC Dean,

    “Why should they spend the taxpayers’ money to do so?”

    1. Because the residents of a community have the right to know what their government is up to, and to have a voice in what is done in their name by that government.

    2. Because encouraging broader public participation in government decision making yields better results, owing the “local expertise” that residents of an area can bring to the table.

    3. Because promoting public involvement in public events promotes civic engagement and identification with the broader community.

    “You cannot be assimilated into this country unless you speak English, so I look at this kind of thing as declining to facilitate non-assimilation.”

    Encouraging residents to participate in civic events (elections, public festivals, public meetings) is a means of encouraging them to assimilate into their community. People who identify themselves as part of their (English-speaking) city are going to be more interested in learning English than those who have no contact or involvement with their English-speaking neighbors, and who remained isolated within insular, unassimilated ethnic neighborhoods.

    A Cambodian businessowner or homeowner who goes a public meeting about pedestrian improvements in his neighborhood is going to be more interested in following up on what the city does. He’s going to have more of a motivation to learn English so he can understand the City Council meetings, read the newspaper, and talk with his neighbors. But you’ve got to get that businessowner to decide that he wants to get involved in the first place, and making it impossible for him to participate in, or even know about, the public meetings isn’t going to get his butt to the meeting in the first place.

  23. Joe,

    Don’t citizens have some obligations to? If they are that concerned about what the government is up to, learn English or just talk to someone who does. I lived in Germany and spoke awful German. It is not that hard to figure out what is going on or find a local who speaks English to tell me what is going on. Why do you treat immigrants like they are children? You act like they are six year olds incapable of functioning without the enlightened help of people like you. Believe me, if it is important, people figure out English or German or Chinese real fast. People are not infants. I don’t know why liberals treat them like they are.

  24. So John, you’re fine with due process being limited to people who speak English?

  25. BTW,

    If I had ever told the Germans that I was resident to and I had a right to demand that they conduct their affairs in English as well as German, they would have at best laughed or at worst beat the shit out of me and I wouldn’t have blamed them. It was their country. If I wanted to live there, I needed to learn German.

  26. RC Dean gets it right, assimilation means you learn the local lingo.

    Or you create it. If there are plenty of Spanish speakers in a community, then that is part of the “local lingo.” One of the main insights of libertarianism is the value it places on autonomous cultural creativity. It is not the government’s role to shape the cultural landscape. A proclamation of an “official” language runs counter to libertarianism, and, I would say, counter to the spirit of the US Consitution.

  27. You are not limiting anyone’s due process rights. That is bullshit. That is such twisted logic. What if I am too stupid to understand the zoning meeting, are you taking away my due process rights by having a meeting I don’t understand? Or, perhaps I have some obligations that come with my rights to at least try to understand what is going on.

  28. “Or you create it. If there are plenty of Spanish speakers in a community, then that is part of the “local lingo.”

    Who exactly is stopping them for forming their own ghettos and dooming themselves and their children to picking tomatoes and cleaning hotel rooms because they can’t speak English? This is about what the government does, not what people do in private. Just because the town clerk speaks English doesn’t mean that you can’t speak whatever you want at home or at work.

  29. If any person immigrates to America and thinks it’s unreasonable to learn english, fine, let him stick to his old language & isolate himself. I couldn’t imagine moving to Mexico and refusing to learn spainish, how stupid that would be.

    I don’t get it. In order to become a naturalized citizen of Costa Rica, you must fill out all forms in Spanish. You must conduct all interviews in Spanish. The entirety of the process is in Spanish, regardless of the country of origin for the applicant.

    WHY ISN’T JOE OUTRAGED ABOUT THE COSTA RICANS?!?!?!

  30. John, I only wish that government’s functions were limited to “zoning meetings,” and yes, if the zoning board meets to make a decisions on a zoning variance or a change in zoning or whatever and someone who has a right to object or otherwise participate can’t do so because the government is unwilling to translate, then yes that is a limitation of due process rights. In this instance, at least, you seem to believe that it is acceptable for the government to restrict someone’s property rights because they don’t speak English. Awesome.

  31. “Why do you treat immigrants like they are children?”
    (1) I’m talking about American citizens, and (2) You accuse Joe of treating ‘immigrants’ like children, yet you are the stern father telling people to speak English. That is ALSO treating someone like an infant.

  32. You do have to learn English to become a naturalized citizen, but you can also be born here and not speak English and non-citizens have rights too.

  33. You do have to learn English to become a naturalized citizen, but you can also be born here and not speak English and non-citizens have rights too.

    Alright, in Costa Rica, all government business is carried out in Spanish. All meetings, all official forms are printed in Spanish, all speeches, all identification is printed in Spanish.

    WHY ISN’T FINFANGFOOM OUTRAGED ABOUT THE COSTA RICANS?!?!?!?!

  34. John,

    Citizens have no obligation to be involved, engaged members of society. But wouldn’t you
    prefer them to be so?

    “If they are that concerned about what the government is up to, learn English or just talk to someone who does.” And what if they’re not? I thought you wanted to encourage people to assimilate, and to be full members of our society. Now you suddenly don’t care?

    “What if I am too stupid to understand the zoning meeting, are you taking away my due process rights by having a meeting I don’t understand?” Yes, the government should make sure that its zoning meetings are conducted in clear language, rather than planner-jargon, so that the public has a genuine opportunity to participate.

    I’ll tell you, John, if the Zoning Board meetings were conducted in quick bursts of jargon among the planners, the applicants’ attournies, they would be much quicker and save the government some real money. But they would be fundamentally elitist and anti-democratic, and that’s now how our government should operate.

    You’ve been going on and on about the importance of assimilation, right up until the point that it is being encouraged in a manner that doesn’t assert the dominance of people like you.

    I think you are less interested in having an assimilated, mutually-comprehensible society than you are pissing on the tree so the other dogs know whose territory it is.

  35. TPaineGoiter: Go visit Costa Rica, tell me how much you need to speak Spanish. The answer, if you’ve really been there, is zero.

    John: I can always tell when you’re stretching to save an argument. Did I say that the government should be required to conduct an entire zoning meeting in Spanish? OR, did I say that “notice” is integral to due process? I guess I’ll wait until you respond to the arguments actually on the table. If you were arrested in Germany, do you think they would have provided you with a translator? And why? Your rights, perhaps?

  36. Lamar,

    You make a good point about criminal due process. No one in their right mind would conduct a trial without an interpretor if the defendent didn’t speak English. But, I think that criminal is different than civil. The consiquences are so much bigger, of course you bend over backwards for the defendent.

    Civil notice of zoning? If it were just about that, perhaps I would say yes. But it becomes a camal with its nose in the tent. I will agree with you about the notice part, if you will agree that we have to draw a line somewhere and that it is bad idea to create a completely bi-lingual government.

  37. Ethan:
    “A proclamation of an official language runs counter to libertarianism, and, I would say, counter to the spirit of the US Constitution”.

    I don’t see where having an official language in which to do official government business is a violation of anyone’s rights. I don’t see any application of force here, people can still use any language they want in their private communications.

  38. TPaineGoiter: Go visit Costa Rica, tell me how much you need to speak Spanish. The answer, if you’ve really been there, is zero.

    When did I say anything about visiting? I’m talking about the language of their government.

  39. TPaineGoiter: Who gives a flip about the Costa Ricans? What a zany canard.

  40. TPaineGoiter: Who gives a flip about the Costa Ricans? What a zany canard.

    It’s a point. One that you aren’t getting and one that I’m not explaining to you.

  41. There is a little confusion here about “official language”, which can be defined in several ways:

    1) It is the ordinary language of the legislature and courts and is the language in which the definitive version of laws are written. This last is important, because laws do not always translate well and ambiguities can arise in the interpretation. There can be translation services, but their purpose is to assit people in communicating with government and the courts;

    2) It is the language in which all business of government and courts Communication with the government and courts must be conducted in the official language;

    3)It is the language in which all public communication must be conducted, whether government or private;

    4)It is the sole language permitted in any situation.

    I don’t think libertarians have much problem with #1, most would have problems with #2, none of us would like #3, and #4 only arises in totalitarian regimes.

    I think, however, that the proponents of the “English as the Official Language” initiatives really want # 3.

  42. Aresen: sign me up for #1. TPaineGoiter: “Everybody else is doing it” ceased to work in the 8th grade.

  43. Who exactly is stopping them [from] forming their own ghettos and dooming themselves and their children to picking tomatoes and cleaning hotel rooms because they can’t speak English? This is about what the government does, not what people do in private. Just because the town clerk speaks English doesn’t mean that you can’t speak whatever you want at home or at work.

    I agree it’s about what the government does. Read what follows the bit you quoted. It includes such priceless gems as “It is not the government’s role to shape the cultural landscape.” Note the reference to “the government.” When I said that sometimes Spanish speakers help create the “local lingo,” I was referring to the language spoken in public.

    The people who come here and speak no English do have a bit of a disadvantage in many situations, but they know this (they aren’t stupid) and they (generally) pick up what English they are able to, and their children do even better, and their grandchildren are almost all fluent. This is exactly what you would expect when things go as well as you could hope them to go–all without an official language. So your “ghetto” comment is just wild-eyed nonsense.

    A government, local or otherwise, should work with the languages of the people who live in its jurisdiction (up here in Maine you find plenty of French in places), and should not have a position on what language people should speak.

  44. “I think, however, that the proponents of the “English as the Official Language” initiatives really want # 3.”

    I certainly wouldn’t want number three. Number 1 is the common sense answer. The problem is that I think a lot of people want number 0, which is the government conducts business in two languages (English and Spanish) as part of its ordinary course of business and the U.S. begins to become a giant Quebec.

  45. I am not sure what the problem would be if government in some areas conducted a lot of its business in Spanish. Where is the actual assimiliation problem occurring? I think the answer is nowhere.

  46. You do have to learn English to become a naturalized citizen, but you can also be born here and not speak English and non-citizens have rights too.

    http://www.immspec.com/naturalization.htm

    English Language: An applicant must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language. Some persons who let off from this requirement are those who on the date of filing:

    * have been residing in the United States subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for periods totaling 15 years or more and are over 55 years of age;
    * have been residing in the US subsequent to a green card for periods totaling 20 years or more and are over 50 years of age; or
    * have a medically proved physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects the applicant’s ability to learn English.

  47. Isn’t this what “democracy” is about. Shouldn’t the people have a say on what their money is spent on?

    California has speakers in a large, everchanging number of languages. Paying for translation services for all languages present in a state, county, or city is financially irresponsible.

  48. J sub D, no “democracy” is not about restricting the rights of individuals without due process just because the majority says so.

  49. …and the U.S. begins to become a giant Quebec.

    Actually, John, Quebec is for all practical purposes monolingual (French) which is something of a burden for its English speaking residents.

    In the rest of Canada (where hardly anyone speaks French) bilingualism is enforced.

  50. INDEPENDENCE FOR QUEBEC!

  51. Isn’t this what “democracy” is about. Shouldn’t the people have a say on what their money is spent on?

    California has speakers in a large, everchanging number of languages. Paying for translation services for all languages present in a state, county, or city is financially irresponsible.

    I would say that there should be a distinction between “democracy” and “tyranny of the majority.” Also, I don’t think it would be financially irresponsible for a government to provide translation services for speakers of the major languages that exist within its jurisdiction. The lone dude who insists on speaking Swahili in Fort Kent, Maine might be out of luck, but in general translation services seem like a far better expenditure than many things governments buy.

  52. Citizens have no obligation to be involved, engaged members of society. But wouldn’t you
    prefer them to be so?

    Absolutely. And I would say that it is impossible to meaningfully involved and engaged in public affairs in this country unless you speak English.

    Bilingualism in public affairds is nothing more and nothing less than the facilitation of non-assimilation. And non-assimilation is a bad thing.

  53. RC Dean: Which is worse, denial of due process (granted in the Constitution) or non-assimilation (prohibited by nothing, but deemed “a bad thing”)?

    Also, you haven’t countered the argument that after one generation, English proficiency is not an issue.

  54. Chicago publishes public notices in English, Spanish, Polish, and Chinese.

    I wouldn’t wish to see it any other way. Then again, Chicago is a major city with large immigrant communities, rather than some shitbox little town taking a brave stand against the three or four Mexican families that live there.

  55. Absolutely. And I would say that it is impossible to meaningfully involved and engaged in public affairs in this country unless you speak English.

    Which is why so many who come here learn English, and why all grandchildren of people who came here speak English. As far as problems go, “people not speaking English” is down there with “chess club violence” and “Icelandic terrorism.”

    Bilingualism in public affairds is nothing more and nothing less than the facilitation of non-assimilation. And non-assimilation is a bad thing.

    Perhaps so, but the amount of “facilitation of non-assimilation” generated by bilingual public affairs is dwarfed by the private-sector incentives to assimilate. If you want to understand what Britney Spears is singing, you won’t be stopped because your local government posted its “Notice of Rulemaking” in Spanish as well as English. And even if the problem you point to were significant, it still remains true that the government has a duty to communicate with its citizens and has no right to dictate what language people speak.

  56. “Which is why so many who come here learn English, and why all grandchildren of people who came here speak English. As far as problems go, “people not speaking English” is down there with “chess club violence” and “Icelandic terrorism.””

    Yes it is, but there is no guarentee that that will always be the case. The more we bend over backwards for people the more danger there is of it becoming a problem. The reason why it is not a problem is that the U.S. has enforced socially and govnermentally language assimilation. Stop doing that and things change. The current state of the country and its assimilation success did not happen by accident.

  57. RC,

    “Absolutely. And I would say that it is impossible to meaningfully involved and engaged in public affairs in this country unless you speak English.”

    Did you read anything I wrote after that quote, or do you just not have any counter-arguments?

  58. John,
    Ethan’s “private-sector incentives to assimilate” make sense. Your “government and social enforcement of language” does not.

    More importantly, I’m not willing to create exclusive legislation, possibly trashing people’s rights, because there is “no guarantee” that we won’t be speaking Spanish to each other in 10 years. We have reached our “successful” state of assimilation without ANY consensus on English only laws.

  59. The problem is that I think a lot of people want number 0, which is the government conducts business in two languages (English and Spanish) as part of its ordinary course of business

    To the extent that this is true, and it is true for a lot of people in Florida, I would ask this question: Why stop with Spanish? The state government here gives instructions in languages such as Portuguese and Creole, but not Russian or French. I am sure there are plenty of people here that speak the latter. So when do you stop providing the service and why?

  60. “because there is “no guarantee” that we won’t be speaking Spanish to each other in 10 years”

    We won’t be speaking Spanish. English isn’t going anywhere. We will have a balkinized country, which would be a tragedy. I honestly I think that is what a lot of people want.

  61. Swillfredo: You are missing the point. Is this on purpose? The issue isn’t comfort or convenience, it is need. Many people who speak French and Russian already speak English, and hence, that community has not pushed the issue.

    You are, I guess, justified in asking about the slippery slope. If we learn how to talk to whales, do we have to post road signs for them in echo language? Seriously, the “how far do we go” question has to be answered by each entity on its own and taking into account just who the constituents are.

  62. Swillfredo: You are missing the point.

    Doubtful. I am asking you to explain how an institution with finite resources (i.e. the government) chooses when to draw a line. Postulating that people who speak French or Russian already speak English is not an argument. This is not about a slippery slope, it is a basic question of choice at the margin. For every dollar the government spends translating a document into Spanish or any other language, it must give up a dollar in goods and service elsewhere. I can think of much more important things to be spending those dollars on, not the least of which is leaving them with the people who earn them in the first place.

  63. Swillfredo:
    Bravo! Choosing “when to draw the line” is a classic slippery slope, not simply a question about finite resources. Further, I said that many established groups have not made big efforts because they already speak English or would rather take care of the problem from within the community, therefore, there is little reason to think that there would be a big problem with “drawing the line.” Also, if you recall, I said that figuring out just how far government goes depends on the situation, and must be analyzed as an ad hoc process. Is there something wrong with me that I don’t know if Farsi should be on government flyers in Fargo? How the hell would I know? Perhaps people like you can think of 1,000 better ways to spend the money, starting with a large heaping of more money for Swillfredo. For a lot of programs you won’t get opposition from me. Unfortunately, Due Process and the Constitution are things the government has a duty to protect. Regardless of who Swillfredo thinks should get the money, government has a duty to protect these rights. And no, you can’t just hide your slippery slope argument behind the mask of “choice at the margin.”

  64. The only heaping of money going to Swillfredo is money Swillfredo already earned to begin with.

    I am confused by your interpretation of Due Process. Just as the right to free speech does not give you the right to force others to listen to you, your right to speak the language of your choice does not give you the right to force the government to do business with you in that language.

    Choosing “when to draw the line” is a classic slippery slope I am not going to be a pedant but you really need to brush up on your logical phallusies. A slippery slope would be me saying that once the government starts letting the Spaniards tell them how to talk they’ll have to let everyone. I am suggesting that the government do business in one language as a practical matter. You still have not articulated the methodology that should be employed to determine which languages require translations in order to pass your version of Constitutional muster, and which do not. Must be analyzed as an ad hoc process doesn’t count.

  65. RC:
    Bilingualism in public affairds is nothing more and nothing less than the facilitation of non-assimilation. And non-assimilation is a bad thing.

    Tell that to the tri-lingual Swiss, who are about as assimilate, insular and ethnocentric as any people has ever been.

    Single language nations are a minority today, and always have been.

    In any case, this law is doomed because it prohibits official use of American Sign Language, and as such, will run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities act.

    From time to time, it would be nice if people actually just THOUGHT.

  66. John:
    We won’t be speaking Spanish. English isn’t going anywhere. We will have a balkinized country, which would be a tragedy. I honestly I think that is what a lot of people want.

    We’ve always been “balkanized” in a sense. It took a century for Norwegian to cease being a primary language in the upper midwest. And the Amish have never assimilated. I suppose also that you dislike the idea of Chinatown, Little Italy, or Texas. Not to mention places like Los Angeles or San Francisco, with their non-English names. And God forbid you ever visit the Navajo nation.

    You know, some of us actually like living in a country where we don’t all have the same culture, language and ethnicity.

  67. “Just as the right to free speech does not give you the right to force others to listen to you, your right to speak the language of your choice does not give you the right to force the government to do business with you in that language.”
    Perhaps you are confused by the Due Process clause because you are comparing it to the First Amendment, mixing and matching where the concepts are separate. It’s hilarious how a “pedant” tries to tell me how the Due Process clause works by talking about the First Amendment. Let’s have a ConLaw 101 (actually 201 if you’ve been to law school). Due Process requires that you have notice of impending government action. It doesn’t require absolute proof that everybody get’s notice every single time, but the standard is set rather high. Now if you had read the earlier posts, you would know that I specifically rejected the idea that ALL business must be done in every foreign language. It is sloppy of you to assert otherwise. The function of government is to protect the rights of the citizens, and unless those citizens have notice of impending government action, their due process rights are violated. Since you are unable to distinguish between the 1st and 14th Amendments, what is the point of going on? Also, I noticed you copped my style by simply dismissing my ad hoc approach to these things. The difference is that your attempted defense of your slippery slope (i.e., your implication is that if we allow one language, we won’t be able to stop at just one, which is why you want a “comprehensive methodology” you disingenuous little rascal!) was rather thin, whereas my ad hoc approach these types of balancing acts is basically stolen from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

  68. Loquerisimus latine.

  69. What’d you call me?

  70. my ad hoc approach these types of balancing acts is basically stolen from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

    She’s my hero. When was it that she said we could start applying the Constitution to law school admissions, “twenty-five years hence”?

  71. Erratum

    Mea culpa.

    “Latine loquerisumus” esset.

  72. Swillfredo:
    Obligatory Reason link. Sandra Day O’Connor and and her imaginary 25 years.

  73. Thanks for the link, is it supposed to make me like her even less? Where can I find this time limit in the Constitution?

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