FW: Tucson Citizen: Court unlikely to toss 'illegal alien' term
Wish I had seen this e-mail from Coalición de Derechos Humanos before I sent the last e-mail. It’s still something we might want to try in Wisconsin, if anyone is interested. Leila
From: Coalición de Derechos Humanos [mailto:kat@...] On Behalf Of Coalición de Derechos Humanos
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 11:23 AM
Subject: Tucson Citizen: Court unlikely to toss 'illegal alien' term
Coalición de Derechos Humanos
P.O. Box 1286
Tucson, AZ 85702
Coalición de Derechos Humanos is a grassroots organization which promotes respect for human/civil rights and fights the militarization of the Southern Border region, discrimination, and human rights abuses by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials affecting U.S. and non-U.S. citizens alike.
We thought we'd send this out as a follow-up to yesterday's article, which might have been misleading. Apparently, the request was only distributed to judges, but no decision has been made (and, it appears, it is not likely). Sorry for the confusion-- we were just very excited about some good news...
Court unlikely to toss 'illegal alien' term
ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN
A Hispanic lawyers group has asked Arizona's chief justice to end state court use of words its members consider inflammatory such as "illegal aliens."
But Cari Gerchick, spokeswoman for the Arizona Supreme Court, said Monday that there has been no ban on any words, nor is Chief Justice Ruth McGregor considering one.
Gerchick said McGregor gave top judicial officials statewide the September request to let them know of the Phoenix-based Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association's concerns.
Officials with the group wrote McGregor that eliminating "unnecessary terms from public documents and proceedings will increase the professionalism of the courts, reduce perceptions of judicial bias and lead to greater confidence in Arizona's courts."
It said that using terms such as "illegals," "aliens" and "illegal immigrants" to describe people without lawful immigration status "gives the appearance of anti-immigrant prejudice and tarnishes the image of our courts as a place where disputes may be fairly resolved."
Gerchick said McGregor has "absolutely not" taken a position on the language at issue and that she simply distributed the letter "as part of a typical process of dealing with issues that arise in the court system."
"Simply sending out an e-mail is not a subtle message; it's FYI," she said. Gerchick also noted that McGregor issues policy decisions only through administrative orders, "and there is no administrative order on this issue."
McGregor's written response Oct. 2 thanked the association's officials for "asking that our judges and employees refrain from using certain derogatory terms in court documents and proceedings. I have taken several steps to notify our judges of your concerns."
The justice's letter also said she would provide the request to all superior court presiding judges as well as an appellate chief judge, and suggested that the Commission on Minorities in the Judiciary "consider whether any further distribution of your request would be helpful."
The Washington-based watchdog organization Judicial Watch insisted from that wording that McGregor's letter supports a ban.
"It is an endorsement. It's quite apparent to most people reading the letter," said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. "It doesn't say there won't be a ban."
Fitton added, "I think the letter suggests that the words should be banned per the Hispanic association's concerns... The chief justice agrees that the use of the terms is inappropriate. And she took action on its request that it not be used."
Judicial Watch posted an entry on its blog last Thursday saying McGregor "has agreed to enforce" a ban on the words, and the next day posted another, saying that the court "has threatened to sue Judicial Watch for revealing that its chief justice agreed to enforce" a ban.
In a telephone interview, Fitton said that in a telephone call, Gerchick had told a Judicial Watch staff member that its first blog entry was "slanderous."
But Gerchick, who is an attorney, said she does not recall using the word "slanderous."
"It's the incorrect term," she said. "It would have been libel. But I don't recall saying that. I certainly did not threaten any kind of legal action, as their Web site says.
"It was simply, `We didn't ban any words. Would you please stop saying that?"'
Read the article online
This email was sent to lpine@... by kat@....
Coalicion de Derechos Humanos | P.O. Box 1286 | Tucson | AZ | 85702