On Second Look, Judge Rules Racism Inspired Arizona's Ban on Mexican-American Studies
Racism was behind an Arizona ban on ethnic studies that shuttered a popular Mexican-American Studies program, a federal judge said Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima found that the state enacted the ban with discriminatory intent.
He had previously upheld most of the law in a civil lawsuit filed by students in the Tucson Unified School District. But a federal appeals court, while upholding most of his ruling, sent the case back to trial to determine if the ban was enacted with racist intent.
The new trial was held in July.
The law prohibits courses that promote resentment toward a race or a class of people or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treating people as individuals. A portion of the law that banned courses designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group was struck down.
The state violated students' constitutional rights "because both enactment and enforcement were motivated by racial animus," Tashima said in the ruling Tuesday.
However, Tashima said he doesn't know a remedy for the violation and has not issued a final judgment. Plaintiffs' attorneys hoped he would throw out the law, which was enacted in 2010, the same year Arizona approved its landmark immigration law known as SB1070. They have not responded to calls for comment Tuesday evening.