ERIC Number: ED452018
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Equality v. Liberty v. Pluralism: Latinos in American Constitutional Law.
Soltero, Carlos R.
This paper examines how U.S. courts, particularly the Supreme Court, have applied constitutional law principles to Latino communities and individuals in three areas: public education, the status of Puerto Rico, and jury selection. Consistent with traditional views of American society as biracial (black and white), constitutional law discussions frequently focus only on liberty or equality. This paper shows examples of how courts have resisted constitutional challenges based on pluralism or have favored principles of equality over those of pluralism, and how resulting decisions have not protected Latino rights. Over the past century, Latinos have sought equal educational opportunities through desegregation, bilingual education, and challenges to school funding schemes. Efforts to improve educational conditions initially focused on breaking down segregation based on notions of equality, as Latino precursors to Brown v. Board of Education exemplify. In the Southwest, Mexican Americans emerged as a separate identifiable class, which greatly complicated the desegregation analysis. In addition, some Mexican American parents wanted to maintain a "critical number" of Latino students in particular schools as a necessary prerequisite for bilingual education programs. In Colorado, the Tenth Circuit Court mandated desegregation, ruling that bilingual education could not substitute for desegregation. This paper also discusses Supreme Court rulings that jury trials are not required in Puerto Rico and that Spanish-speaking bilinguals may be removed from a jury when they might challenge a translation of testimony in Spanish. (SV)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Puerto Rico