Arizona Supreme Court Rules that Candidate Cannot Run Because of Her Lack of English Fluency

Feb 8, 2012
1:54 PM

It is a story that has spread globally, from Arizona to Madrid. In December Alejandrina Cabrera, a US citizen from San Luis, Arizona was initially removed from the city's City Council ballot after it was determined that she did not possess an acceptable proficiency in the English language. The city's mayor, Carlos Escamilla, had filed suit against Cabrera's intent to run in next month's primary elections.

Yesterday, after Cabrera and her legal team appealed the case, the Arizona Supreme Country upheld the original December action and determine that Cabrera could not run in the primary because she was not proficient in English. According to the Yuma Sun, the Supreme Court's decision weighed on the expert testimony of a sociolinguistics professional who testified that Cabrera's English skills were poor.

“It is ordered that the trial court's judgment and orders filed January 27, 2012 are affirmed,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Burch. “The City Clerk shall not include appellant's name on the March 13, 2012, City Council election ballot. A written decision of this court shall follow in due course.”

San Luis can now print the primary ballots without Cabrera. The Sun also reports:

Juan Castillo, who was recruited last week by Cabrera's backers to run in place in the event her appeal failed. Castillo must run as a write-in because the deadline has passed for candidates to file nominating petitions to include their names on the ballot.

In the meantime, one of Cabrera's lawyer had some choice words about the court's decision:

“Unbelievable,” said John Minore, one of Cabrera's attorneys. “This is a fine example of judicial activism. Arizona now has a English standard to be on a ballot but doesn't tell you what that standard is. It's amazing that people in government who are in power can spend taxpayer money to keep people off the ballot. This is Hispanics keeping Hispanics off the ballot, compliments of the San Luis City Council.”