State Capitol News
Mon April 6, 2009
Brewer and Goddard squabble over English language learning
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – Governor Jan Brewer is threatening to try to strip Attorney
General Terry Goddard of some of his legal authority because he
won't take her side in a dispute at the U-S Supreme Court.
The state was first sued in 1992 over whether it is meeting its
obligation to ensure that all students have an opportunity to
learn English so they can succeed in school. So far the state has
lost at virtually every turn. Now the Republican-controlled
Legislature wants the high court to conclude Arizona has done
enough. But Goddard, a Democrat, said he believes the 2006 law
still leaves the state out of compliance. And despite Brewer's
protestations, he filed a legal brief saying just that. Brewer,
in a letter to Goddard, said he is trying to usurp and undermine
her authority to set state legal policy. And the Republican
governor said if he doesn't back down she will ask the GOP-
controlled Legislature to strip him of his authority. Goddard
said she's legally off base.
"The Arizona electorate and the constitution do extactly that: To
decide how to defend the state and which cases to be involved in.
And that issue's been tried in the Arizona courts and virtually
every other court in the country."
The governor's threat to take away the attorney general's powers
comes too late: Goddard already has filed his legal brief with
the high court in the case which is scheduled to be heard April