Why the NM Supreme Court Decision Shouldn’t Bother You August 13, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
I’ve seen some conservative sites getting het up over the news that the New Mexico Supreme Court said that non-English speakers have the right to be on juries. That got me riled at first, too, and in fact I had started a post on it earlier in the day.
Until I did a tiny bit of research.
Turns out that this isn’t a new thing – this is a relic of a hundred-year-old bit of legislation that took many rights away from non-English speakers, but left them the right to vote and to sit on juries.
Back in the 1800s half of New Mexico’s citizens were exclusively Spanish-speaking, so many government officials couldn’t speak English. This turned out to be a pain when interfacing with the rest of the US, so in 1910 they started legislation that stated all government employees had to be able to speak English. This was actually a concession by the Spanish-speaking population, so the fact that they have remaining rights from back in the day doesn’t bother me a whole lot.
So I’d suggest people cool off a bit: the New Mexico Supreme Court was just affirming a long-standing right of Spanish-speaking people.