The Spectacle Blog

Obama DOJ Threatened Oklahoma Over English-Only Vote

By on 8.2.09 | 1:50AM

The Obama administration believes that an inability to speak English is a civil right. It is even more distressing that the administration, legally speaking, may be right.

In April President Obama's Department of Justice threatened to cut off federal funding to Oklahoma if that state's voters approve a state constitutional amendment making English Oklahoma's official language, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) revealed.

The threat came in the form of a letter (PDF) from Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King to Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. King wrote that "implementation of this amendment may conflict with Oklahoma's obligations to protect the civil rights of limited English proficient (LEP) persons."

This would mean that such people, LEPs, have not only a federal right not to learn English but a right to have government services provided to them in languages other than English.

The Tulsa World reports that the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment has been changed since King's letter to Edmondson and that as a consequence of the change the Department of Justice no longer considers it to violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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