Arizona Supreme Court Issues Explanation of Its February Decision, Keeping a Candidate off the Ballot Because of her Poor English Skills

On February 7, the Arizona Supreme Court had issued a two-page order in Escamilla v Cuello, cv-12-39, agreeing with the lower court that Alejandrina Cabrera should be kept off the ballot for City Council of San Luis, Arizona. On August 20, the Supreme Court finally explained its reasoning. Here is the 15-page opinion. The Court agreed with the lower court that the candidate, whose primary language is Spanish, does not have enough skill with English to serve in office. Thanks to Mark Brown for this news.

San Luis is on the Mexican border.


  1. Will Fenwick · · Reply

    I would think that since the constitution of the united states is written in English, any legislator at any level should be required to be competent in the English language so that they may be able to fully comprehend the meaning and context of our nations laws.

  2. It should be up to the voters to decide if English is a requirement for office. I completely agree that language would be a huge barrier to governing effectively but that is a decision the voters should make rather than a court.

  3. @2 absolutely spot-on, Daniel. The courts should not be passing judicial legislation like this.

  4. Reading the opinion, it seems that Arizona law does in fact require people holding public office to be able to read and write English. While I don’t agree with the law, this clearly isn’t a case of judicial legislation. As a state court, ignoring the law and ruling the other way would be judicial legislation.

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