ARIZONANS FOR OFFICIAL ENGLISH v. ARIZONA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
95-974
Petitioner 
Arizonans for Official English
Respondent 
Arizona
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Maria Kelly F. Yniguez, an Arizona state employee, sued the state and various state officials alleging provisions of the state constitution, which declare English "the official language of the State," and allow state residents and businesses to bring suit to enforce the article, violate the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. Yniguez used both English and Spanish in her work and feared that the article would require her to face discharge or other discipline if she did not refrain from speaking Spanish while serving the state. The District Court dismissed the case against the state because of its Eleventh Amendment immunity, but held the article on English unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals accepted the case after Yniguez resigned and ultimately affirmed the District Court's ruling that the article violated the Free Speech Clause and announced that Yniguez was entitled to damages from the state.

Question 

Was a challenge to a state's efforts to make English its official language a justiciable controversy after the state employee who mounted the challenge left her government job?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Arizona, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

No. In a unanimous decision, announced by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court held that the dispute was moot due to the previous resignation of Yniguez. The Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the article.

Cite this Page
ARIZONANS FOR OFFICIAL ENGLISH v. ARIZONA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 19 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_95_974>.
ARIZONANS FOR OFFICIAL ENGLISH v. ARIZONA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_95_974 (last visited June 19, 2014).
"ARIZONANS FOR OFFICIAL ENGLISH v. ARIZONA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 19, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_95_974.