Perhaps without fully realizing what it was doing, the U.S. Supreme Court last week struck a small blow for American nationhood. By narrowly rejecting—for rather arcane legalistic reasons—the lawsuit of an immigrant woman demanding the right to take a driver's license test in Spanish, it actually helped protect the English language and the national bond that a common language makes possible. If this sort of thing keeps happening, we might even reach a point where the Court recognizes a common national culture.
The case before the Court involved a lady from Mexico named Martha Sandoval, who claimed that the state of Alabama to which she had immigrated refused to give her a driver's license test in her native language. Alabama, like 19 other states, has a law making English its official language, and it conducts its official business—including driver's license tests—in that language.
You'd think that was logical enough and that anyone moving here from another country would want to learn English well enough to be able to pass driver's license tests in it—not to mention to be able to read road signs while actually driving a car. But no, Mrs. Sandoval insisted that the narrow-minded nativists of Alabama were unfairly discriminating against her when they made her take the test in English (of course, no one made her take the test at all, for that matter).
Alabama, like most states, receives money from the federal government, and under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, recipients of federal money are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Mrs. Sandoval claimed in her suit—backed by multimillion-dollar leftist lobbies like the ACLU, the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center—that the Alabama law discriminated against her because of her national origin.
The Court's majority in its wisdom did not actually speak to that point. It held—by 5-4—that Mrs. Sandoval cannot sue the state for discrimination at all because Congress in passing the act did not explicitly enact what Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking for the majority, called "a freestanding right of action to enforce (such) regulations." That throws Mrs. Sandoval's claim in file 13, but it still doesn't answer the more important question that this case raises: Can we, the American people, have our own language or not?
We do know what the four dissenters think. The four are the usual suspects who constitute the left wing of the current bench——Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer and Souter—and they, rather sourly, opined that earlier cases did in fact recognize the right to forbid "the provision of governmental services in a manner that discriminated against non-English speakers." In other words, four justices of the Nameless Nine—just one short of a majority—think the American people should not have the right to establish their own language in their nation. That's what the dissenting gobbledy-gook really means.
The dissenting opinion argues that non-English-speaking immigrants can continue to challenge official English laws throughout the country, with the financial and legal help of their left-wing allies, and enjoy a serious chance of preventing the vast majority of Americans, through the operation of such laws, from enforcing the prevalence of their own native language in their own country.
The Court's decision could therefore have been worse; it didn't close off the possibility of such massive linguistic and cultural subversion, but at least it didn't immediately open the gates to it. But don't imagine that the stalwarts of the left will stop trying.
If and when they do, it won't be merely Mrs. Sandoval's Spanish in which driver's license tests must be administered but every other language that has now been imported into the multiracial, multicultural, multilingual Tower of Babel we are becoming. Nor will driver's license tests be the only official documents that will have to transcend the parochial tongues of those who write them. Road signs, instruction manuals, administrative procedures and law books themselves would have to be published in whatever languages are required to avoid "the provision of governmental services in a manner that discriminates against non-English speakers." The result, of course, will be not only linguistic and cultural, but even political, anarchy—dare one say "Balkanization."
Most Americans, of course, have no idea how close the Court last week actually came to pulling the plug on whatever remains of their nation's unity, nor do they have any notion of what still lies before them once the professional left exploits the loopholes in the Court's ruling. They really ought to have an idea, because the anarchy in their future will be the logical consequence of the combination of mass immigration and a left-wing ruling class that controls both the press and the courts.
COPYRIGHT 2001 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
April 30, 2001