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Yñiguez v. Arizonans for Official English

69 F.3d 920 (1995)

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Yñiguez v. Arizonans for Official English

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

69 F.3d 920 (1995)

Facts

Arizonians for Official English (AOE) (defendant) started a petition drive to amend the Arizona constitution in October 1987. AOE sought to amend the Arizona constitution to prohibit the government’s use of any language except English. In 1988, the proposed amendment won a ballot initiative by 50.5 percent of voters. Article XXVIII of the Arizona Constitution made English the official language of the state and government, including state and government employees. Article XXVIII also imposed employment sanctions for any government employee who violated it. Yñiguez (plaintiff) worked on medical malpractice suits against the state in the Arizona Department of Administration. Before Article XXVIII, Yñiguez communicated in Spanish with monolingual Spanish-speaking claimants, and she spoke in English and Spanish with bilingual claimants. After Article XXVIII, Yñiguez stopped speaking Spanish at work because she feared the disciplinary reaction. Yñiguez sued AOE. Yñiguez argued that Article XXVIII was facially overbroad and entirely invalid, because it unlawfully prevented her from speaking Spanish with Spanish-speaking claimants, it chilled the rights of many employees, officials, and officers of the state, and it limited the interests of many non-English speaking Arizonans to receive information from the government. The district court ruled for Yñiguez, concluding that Article XXVIII violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Reinhardt, J.)

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