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zia_symbol_nm_flagThere are times when living in the state of New Mexico makes me absolutely crazy.  There are moments when it is backward, annoying, frustrating, and absolutely corrupt.  Then, again, there are moments when I don’t know if I could live in any other state.  Take Minority Rights for instance.  Written into the Constitution of New Mexico, almost set in stone are very specific rights granting special protections to Hispanic citizens, their voting, cultural, and linguistic rights.  No matter how the minions of the far right go with their anti-Hispanic bigotry and hate, they basically cannot change the laws in the state of NM.  The process is so difficult, it’s almost impossible.

Oh, you will be hearing grumbling here in New Mexico about the ruling.  Now, being unable to comprehend English, or pretending to be, is not an excuse to get out of jury duty. If you understood how annoying jury duty was in the state of NM you would understand.

One Old Vet

One Old Vet

 “…Michael Olivas, a University of Houston law professor, said New Mexico courts are required by the state’s constitution to provide translators for Spanish-only speakers and typically make accommodations for others, like speakers of American Indian languages.

In a 2002 case, for example, ruling on juror service for Navajo speakers, the New Mexico high court said inconvenience alone doesn’t suffice to excuse a juror who cannot speak, read or write English or Spanish.

If necessary, a trial should be delayed a reasonable time in order to secure an interpreter for a juror, that ruling said.

Michael Olivas, a University of Houston law professor, said New Mexico courts are required by the state’s constitution to provide translators for Spanish-only speakers and typically make accommodations for others, like speakers of American Indian languages.

In a 2002, for example, ruling on juror service for Navajo speakers, the New Mexico high court said inconvenience alone doesn’t suffice to excuse a juror who cannot speak, read or write English or Spanish….”

Cafe Mom

Cafe Mom

From the bigoted and ignorant:

“…Don’t you have to speak English to become a citizen? I want to be judged by my peers not the first twelve wet backs they dragoon into the box.”

CBS Las Vegas

CBS Las Vegas

It comes from Weasel Zippers.  The comments shown are ignorant, bigoted, and abjectly racist.  Not one single person bothered to even check to see just what the laws were in New Mexico.  It was all about the hate.  From what I read in the comments, the general thinking was that anyone who spoke Spanish as a first language was an immigrant.  They could not comprehend that there are people in this country who speak the the language, not only as their first language, but are fifth, sixth or seventh generation Americans.  It is quite disgusting how the so-called patriots who populate these blogs don’t even understand the history of this nation.

CBS Las Vegas

CBS Las Vegas

Try this one:

“...I’m telling you that NM Hispanics that do not speak english are not as patriotic as those who do. By not learning, or assimilating through common language, you are deeming yourselves to be hyphenated americans, whose loyalty lies with the other country.

When I was working on the southern TX border, I had the occasion to meet a very nice hispanic waitress. She and her mother crossed the border the old fashioned way, legally. I learned a lot about her and respected her and her mother very much. She told me that she was proud of her culture, which was mexican, but she was more proud of being American. The only trouble they had in that small town was from (she inserted a hispanic name for illegals, and I cannot remember it). Nobody in America is denying anyone their culture, Lord knows we have one of the most diverse countries in the world. But, that is the point, be proud of your heritage and culture but if you are going to live in America as a citizen, remove the hyphen and speak the common language.

Of course, I don’t expect you to understand what I said, or much less agree with it … you will forever be hyphenated and tainted by liberalism. The only other thing I have to say to you is, that as you recross the border, AMF!…”

From Gateway:  You might want to notice that here, like with the other far right patriots, these people don’t seem capable of grasping that people here who speak Spanish might be here for many generations.  They assume all those who speak Spanish must be immigrants.

Gateway Pundit

Gateway Pundit

The degree of racism and bigotry against people of Hispanic origins in this country is getting worse, not better.  There’s a simple reason.  The bigots have been empowered as never before. Their filth is backed up by FOX, Rush, and other far right hacks.

CBS News Las Vegas

CBS News Las Vegas

The one constancy I’ve noticed is that these people never have the courage to use their real names.  You see, bigots are like roaches.  They can’t stand the light of day.  At least at National Review, they are less ignorant and do have a command of proper grammar.

National Review

National Review

Want to know why Spanish speaking citizens of New Mexico must be allowed to serve on juries?  Well, it’s the law.

“...The 1910 constitution ended the 59-year frustration of the people of the New Mexico territory to gain equal footing as a state among the other 46 states in the union. However, admission of the territory was not to be on an equal footing with the other states. The Enabling Act passed by congress and approved by President Taft on June 20, 1910 was really a compact specifying a long list of conditions that had to be accepted and a schedule or list of prerequisites that had to be followed. These conditions were incorporated into the new constitution as Articles 21 and 22 and so remain there today even though some of the conditions are no longer operative.

The document produced by the 1910 convention and accepted by congress and the president, but not without an additional condition, was, overall, not a bad piece of work. It was written by men of exceptional abilities who, although being products of the 19th century and of conservative bent, produced for the 20th and 21st centuries a workable governmental structure, a reasonably sound fiscal base, a solid public educational system and protections for the civil and religious rights of Hispanic citizens and their children….”

Even a journalist with the status of Jonathan Turley did not bother to ascertain the real reason why the law is the way that it is.

“...The state Constitution in this case obviously controlled the analysis. The question is whether the state should amend the Constitution to eliminate the reference to juries. The issue reignited the debate over whether English should be treated or recognized as the national language and that all citizens, particularly new citizens, should have to master the language as a condition of citizenship.

Even short of such an official recognition, there remains the question of whether courts should reasonably be forced to have interpreters for non-English speaking jurors. Presumably, a jury could have multiple different language needs for such interpreters. These jurors would not only add to the burden of the trial courts but could make jury deliberations more difficult. Additionally, there remains the issue of a third party’s interpretation of statements and how it might affect an outcome after being filtered through an interpreter. In the rapid and often heated discussions of a jury room, an interpreter is likely to summarize statements. On the other hand, absent such an accommodation, non-English jurors would get an effective pass from jury duty and exclude these citizens from an important civic function….”

NM Law Blog

NM Law Blog

“...Languages Spoken in New Mexico
English    64%
Spanish    28%
Navajo    4%
According the 2000 U.S. Census, 28.76% of the population aged 5 and older speak Spanish at home, while 4.07% speak Navajo. Speakers of New Mexican Spanish dialect are mainly descendants of Spanish colonists who arrived in New Mexico in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. New Mexican Spanish is an archaic form of 17th century Castilian Spanish.

The original state constitution of 1912 provided for a bilingual government with laws being published in both English and Spanish;  this requirement was renewed twice, in 1931 and 1943.  Nonetheless, the constitution does not declare any language as “official.”  While Spanish was permitted in the legislature until 1935, all state officials are required to have a good knowledge of English. Cobarrubias and Fishman therefore argue that New Mexico cannot be considered a bilingual state as not all laws are published in both languages. Others, such as Juan Perea, claim that the state was officially bilingual until 1953. In either case, Hawaii is the only state that remains officially bilingual in the 21st century.

With regards to the judiciary, witnesses have the right to testify in either of the two languages, and monolingual speakers of Spanish have the same right to be considered for jury-duty as do speakers of English In public education, the state has the constitutional obligation to provide for bilingual education and Spanish-speaking instructors in school districts where the majority of students are hispanophone.

In 1995, the state adopted a State Bilingual Song, New Mexico – Mi Lindo Nuevo México.:75,81 In 1989, New Mexico became the first state to officially adopt the English Plus resolution, and in 2008, the first to officially adopt a Navajo textbook for use in public schools…”

In the state of New Mexico there are so-called Unamendable Sections of the State Constitution.  These primarily have to do with the rights of Spanish-speaking citizens.

“...The civil rights of Spanish-speaking citizens of the new state with regard to voter qualification, protection from religious and racial discrimination on holding office, the requirement that the legislature provide teachers proficient in both English and Spanish and the protection of the right of children of Spanish descent to be admitted to and attend public schools was deemed of sufficient importance to be worthy of special protection by not only the framers of the constitution but also by the approving congress. This protection took the form of extraordinary requirements for amendments incorporated in Articles 7 and 12 and repeated in Article 19.

Under these provisions, no amendment restricting the rights created by Article 7, Sections 1 and 3 and Article 12, Sections 8 and 10 can be proposed except by a three- fourths’ vote of the members elected to each house of the legislature voting separately and ratified by a vote of the people by at least three-fourths of those voting in the whole state. Until 1968, there was an added requirement that the amendment must also receive an approving vote of at least two-thirds of those voting in each county of the state…”

From the New Mexico Law Review:

NM Law Review

NM Law Review

NM Law Review

NM Law Review

The beauty of living in New Mexico is the fact that this truly is a multi-cultural state where people have managed to discover that different is very good.  New Mexico has only been a state for 101 years. People here are proud of the fact that, in many ways, it is still a frontier, with a Wild West taste to it.  Maybe that’s the difference.  If you know anything about the Wild West, you know that the hallmark of a true westerner was treating everyone the same.  That’s one reason people came out here, to build a new life.  Sure, there was terrible intolerance, but there were also wonderful moments where human nature reached for the very best.  That happened in 1911 when, some how, men who were still living in the shadow of the end of slavery were able to create a Constitution where rights were given to what was then a majority, and still is.  Instead of being damned by the far right, this state should be praised!

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