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24 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 293 (1989)
Declaring English the Official Language: Prejudice Spoken Here

handle is hein.journals/hcrcl24 and id is 301 raw text is: DECLARING ENGLISH THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE:
Antonio J. Califa*
If English was good enough for Jesus Christ it's good
enough for me.'
Two out of three Americans believe that English is the
official language of the United States.2 It is not. In the last
five years, however, various organizations have orchestrated
a well-financed and well-planned effort to declare English
the official language.' Despite almost unanimous opposition
from   political leaders and      newspapers,4 the proponents of
the English-Only movement have been making extra-
ordinary progress in their quest to make English the official
language of the United States. In every state where the elec-
torate has had an opportunity to vote on an initiative or refer-
endum, it has approved the measure making English the of-
ficial language.5 The      margins of victory       are usually    over-
* Legislative counsel, American Civil Liberties Union, Washington, D.C. B.A.
1970, University of Texas at Austin; J.D. 1973, Yale University.
This Article is dedicated to the memory of my father, Manuel Califa. I thank Ed
Chen, Jim Crawford, Morton Halperin, Susan Hansen, Wade Henderson, Martha Ji-
menez, Jim Lyons and John Trasvina for their help in the preparation of this Article. I
am especially thankful to Mary Carol Combs for her generous advice and assistance.
I Paul Simon, The Tongue-Tied American 62 (1980) (quoting H.L. Mencken).
2 Carelli, Survey: Most Think English is Official U.S. Language, Assoc. Press, Feb.
14, 1987.
3 J. Crawford, Bilingual Education: History, Politics, Theory and Practice 52-69
(1989) (describing history of English-Only movement).
4 S. Diamond, Proposition 63-English Language Initiative, A Brief History 2 (un-
dated) (U.S. English, California English Campaign) (describing media and political
opposition to Proposition 63).
5 See, e.g., Chambers, California Braces for Change With English as Official
Language, N.Y. Times, Nov. 26, 1986, at A20; Reinhold, 3 State Referendums Give
New Impetus to Anti-Abortion Efforts, N.Y. Times, Nov. 10, 1988, at BI (Florida,
Colorado and Arizona). See infra note 55 for a list of states with laws recognizing
English as the official language.
6 Chambers, supra note 5 (California, 3-1 margin); Reinhold, supra note 5 (Florida-
84%, Colorado-61%, Arizona-51%).

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