It has been rumored that Arizona’s Supreme Court Justice has enforced the request of Los Abogados, the Arizona Hispanic Bar Association, to ban the use of certain words during trials and hearings. Los Abogados contends that the banned words are inflammatory and create perceptions of prejudice and bias.

Other news sources at WTAR correct that rumor by stating that Arizona State Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor forwarded the request to various agencies within the Arizona court system.

Reports that the words “illegal” and “alien” have been banned from Arizona court rooms are false, according to an Arizona Supreme Court official.
“That is not true,” said Car Gerchick, communications director for the court. “Those words have not been banned from Arizona courtrooms.”
“A letter was sent in from an organization, a local legal organization, asking a court to essentially ban the use of those words.”
Gerchick said Chief Justice Ruth McGregor’s responded to the group, identified as Los Abogados, and told them she would share the request with the legal community and that no decision has been made.
“Under no circumstances did the Chief Justice McGregor ban any words.”

Some of the supposed banned words are: open borders advocate, illegal immigrant, illegal alien, illegals.

One source of the rumor was from ALIPAC- Americans for Legal Immigration. Why would a supposed reputable organization deliberately spread false rumors? Perhaps they wanted to stir their supporters up.

Stay tuned. This sounds like the beginning rather than the end of a story.

[Addendum 11/12/08: We have received email from
Cari Gerchick, Esq.
Communications Director
Arizona Supreme Court

She has clarified that “the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court did not ban any words from the court system. Any reports to the contrary are false.”

I assume this ends any controversy and thanks you Ms. Gerchick for the clarification.]

29 Thoughts to “Rumors Abound About Banned Words in Arizona”

  1. IVAN

    Sounds like someone is laying the groundworks for appeal based on juries being prejudiced by inflamatory words.

  2. Moon-howler

    It sure sounds like something is up. And I heard those very words on tv this morning regardling this issue: inflammatory.

  3. NotGregLetiecq

    It looks like the various Anti-immigrant Cults are starving for new reasons to be enraged and consumed by hate. Whether or not the information is accurate or not has never been of any consequence. This would be a good reason to be angry, that is why they are going with it, even though it isn’t true. Anti-immigrant Cult members know nothing of true.

  4. Rick Bentley

    Well it has the ring of truth. here in modern-day politically correct America, no one – even criminals – feel they should be addressed in terms that are less than totally sympathetic and imply respect.

    The guys at NAMBLA aren’t “pedophiles”. They want to be called “boy lovers”.

    Drunk drivers and crimninal drug addicts have “substance abuse problems”. They can be “rehabilitated” through “therapy” and “counseling”.

    “Illegal aliens” are merely undocumented persons. They gained entry into our country by paying money (“gratuity”) to drug dealers (“purveyors of illegal substances”) who sometimes rape them (“unwanted physical intimacy”). Once here they lower wages (“increase competitiveness in our labor market”) by cheating Americans out of jobs (“competing for jobs with documented persons”). They usually have to steal (“borrow”) identities to acheive this, from forgers (“identification salespersons”). The rich (“more fortunate members of our collective society”) encourage this situation and and force the rest of us (“middle and lower class members of our collective society”) to pay for the illegals’ health care, education, etc. (“sodomizing us with a broomstick”).

  5. David

    ALIPAC has not issued any statement about this case or situation. Please remove your false information posted here.

  6. Lucky Duck

    I have to admit, this is pushing the limit on political correctness. One side wants “illegal” and the other side wants “undocumented”. One side finds “illegal” to be wrong and the other finds “undocumented” to be offensive. Why should one side be banned and not the other? Why should one side get to select the terminology? And which side?

    By the way, the term “alien” is official US Government terminology under ICE immigration status listings. So are we to reprint, at a substantial cost all identification cards that say “Resident Alien” on them? Is Los Abogados going to reimburse the other 49 States if we pay to reprint/reissue those cards?

  7. Moon-howler

    David, I posted the link to the ALIPAC website. Sorry. I will not remove information that I do not consider false.

    Click on the blue words in the main thread post and tell me if you would not deduct that ALIPAC is the source of the information. Frankly, I had to read the ‘about’ part of the organization to even determine who they were. I am not trying to malign your organization.

    Just the facts, Sir.

    One source of the rumor was from ALIPAC- Americans for Legal Immigration. Why would a supposed reputable organization deliberately spread false rumors? Perhaps they wanted to stir their supporters up.

  8. Moon-howler

    I thought that alien was a constitutional term. I might be incorrect about that though, Lucky Duck. I don’t like ‘illegals’ simply because adjectives aren’t nouns. I see nothing wrong with illegal immigrant. I know kids don’t like to be referred to as aliens because of the ET factor. Kids think ‘alien’ means extra terrestrial. I can understand that.

  9. Rick Bentley

    I dislike “illegal immigrant” because 7 syllables is just too much. (I don’t like “African-American” either).

    We need an acronym, like “OCC” – Other Country’s Citizen. Or “SINP” – Snuck In, No Papers.

  10. Moon-howler

    Thanks for the laugh Rick. Very clever. I feel confident you didn’t even have to work up a sweat on that one.

    So who is not being truthful? Americans for Legal Immigration or the Arizona Court system? I have no clue and actually, not real opinion other than eye rolling.

    To further explain my note to David, I heard this news on TV this morning. I thought it might be a good blog topic and did my reseach. I got 2 conflicting stories so….I slapped them both up. I had no clue who ALIPAC even was so I had to then research who they were. I cannot help nor control what is on their website.

    If anyone has a definitive answer on this topic from a reliable mainstream source, I will consider editing the thread lead.

  11. ShellyB

    It’s the dawning of a new era. Why would anyone fall for a PC scarecrow trap set by desperate anti-immigrant types?

    They are going to a decades old well with the PC scarecrow argument. There was a time, I guess, when it made sense to go bananas over semantics. But today we have more important issues before us. The PC scarecrow argument from the 90’s was a backlash against the new multi ethnic society we were becoming. Now that we ARE that society, and the right wing blowhards who pushed the PC scarecrow argument have been discredited 100 times over, I don’t know why anyone would want to revive it.

    Perhaps the Arizona version of Help Save Manassas is just running out of ideas.

    About half of the undocumented persons in this country came here legally but have fallen out of status, by the way. And I don’t see the harm in discussing the proper use of terms that are offensive or hateful. Racial epithets are offensive and should only be used when offence is intended. No one would say they should never be used, but there are settings where they are inappropriate. Courthouses and prime time TV, for instance.

  12. Lucky Duck

    I gotta give to Mr. Bentley, he’s pretty quick witted.

  13. Lucky Duck

    Here is the text from the Associated Press:

    Hispanic lawyers ask curbs on words
    ‘Illegal aliens’ would be banned in AZ courtrooms
    By Arthur H. Rotstein
    The Associated Press
    Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.11.2008
    A Hispanic lawyers group has asked Arizona’s chief justice to end state court use of words its members consider inflammatory such as “illegal aliens.”
    But Cari Gerchick, spokeswoman for the Arizona Supreme Court, said Monday that there has been no ban on any words, nor is Chief Justice Ruth McGregor considering one.
    Gerchick said McGregor gave top judicial officials statewide the September request to let them know of the Phoenix-based Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association’s concerns.
    Officials with the group wrote McGregor that eliminating “unnecessary terms from public documents and proceedings will increase the professionalism of the courts, reduce perceptions of judicial bias and lead to greater confidence in Arizona’s courts.”
    It said that using terms such as “illegals,” “aliens” and “illegal immigrants” to describe people without lawful immigration status “gives the appearance of anti-immigrant prejudice and tarnishes the image of our courts as a place where disputes may be fairly resolved.”
    Gerchick said McGregor has “absolutely not” taken a position on the language at issue and that she simply distributed the letter “as part of a typical process of dealing with issues that arise in the court system.”
    “Simply sending out an e-mail is not a subtle message; it’s FYI,” she said. Gerchick also noted that McGregor issues policy decisions only through administrative orders, “and there is no administrative order on this issue.”
    McGregor’s written response Oct. 2 thanked the association’s officials for “asking that our judges and employees refrain from using certain derogatory terms in court documents and proceedings. I have taken several steps to notify our judges of your concerns.”
    The justice’s letter also said she would provide the request to all superior court presiding judges as well as an appellate chief judge, and suggested that the Commission on Minorities in the Judiciary “consider whether any further distribution of your request would be helpful.”
    The Washington-based watchdog organization Judicial Watch insisted from that wording that McGregor’s letter supports a ban.
    “It is an endorsement. It’s quite apparent to most people reading the letter,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It doesn’t say there won’t be a ban.”
    Fitton added, “I think the letter suggests that the words should be banned per the Hispanic association’s concerns. . . . The chief justice agrees that the use of the terms is inappropriate. And she took action on its request that it not be used.”
    Judicial Watch posted an entry on its blog last Thursday saying McGregor “has agreed to enforce” a ban on the words, and the next day posted another, saying that the court “has threatened to sue Judicial Watch for revealing that its chief justice agreed to enforce” a ban.
    In a telephone interview, Fitton said that in a telephone call, Gerchick had told a Judicial Watch staff member that its first blog entry was “slanderous.”
    But Gerchick, who is an attorney, said she does not recall using the word “slanderous.”
    “It’s the incorrect term,” she said.
    “It would have been libel. But I don’t recall saying that. I certainly did not threaten any kind of legal action, as their Web site says.
    “It was simply, `We didn’t ban any words. Would you please stop saying

  14. Moon-howler

    Thank you very much for that find, Lucky Duck. That should fill in the blanks for David and friends.

    Yes, Mr. Bentley is very quick witted. I have been told it is going to get him in a heap of trouble on other blogs though 😉

  15. Juturna

    Pretty good, Rick B.

    Didn’t we just have an election that pointed out that rigidity and anger no longer qualify as political beliefs??

    So Judicial Watch claims her email ‘implies’ something and they are affronted that the blog entry they posted ‘implies’ something else to others??!!!

    This is exactly why terminology must be exact and consistant. Imagine if this were a medical situation. How much would you want implied? How many different words would you want to describe your condition to a team as you head into surgery?

    Illegal describes the status regardless of how you got there. That’s why we have judges to determine degree instead of a legal kiosk systems that apply one penalty. Besides if I want to appeal something and move from a state system to a federal system, I’d rather not take the chance that terminology will defeat me. I agree with Shelby B.

  16. The words “illegal alien” are in immigration law and citizenship literature. As much as I can’t stand the word “alien” (too much like creatures from another planet), the words are there. I sincerely doubt any credible lawyers would try to ban those words from the courts without going to the source which is, once again, the federal government.

    I can’t stand the word “illegals” because it denotes PEOPLE are illegal. “He’s an illegal” is like saying “She’s a cripple.” HE, a human being, is NOT defined by citizen status. SHE is not defined by her disability. It’s not about being politically correct. It’s about maintaining human dignity.

    That said, thanks for the chuckle, Rick. 🙂

  17. — I sincerely doubt any credible lawyers–

    ….meaning, I don’t think these lawyers are credible, no matter how much I dislike the terminology.

  18. Juturna

    Alien is also used to describe insurance companies that are incorporated in one state and do business in other states. It’s terminology.

    Ever see a medical report where it states that something about you is “unremarkable”? Should we be insulted???

  19. NotGregLetiecq

    I agree Pinko that “illegal alien” is a legal term so no sense in trying to force people to assign it correctly or without hate in their inflection. How would you enforce intelligence or inflection?!

    If we were going to have a argument at all about proper language in a court room or in public discourse, it should be over whether the “anchor baby” racial slur should be considered politically acceptable.

    Apparently not in VA-5th where consummate racist Virgil Goode got voted out last week. Woop-woop-woop-woop-woop!

  20. SecondAlamo

    Oh sure we can keep words out, but not people. Where’s the priority in that! Why don’t we refer to MS13 as a young adults club instead of a gang. They have feelings too! Man this is getting rediculous. It’s the PC police swat team from south of the border working overtime I tell you.

  21. Juturna

    SA – think most everyone here agrees that terminology is exactly that.

  22. Alanna

    I’m not sure I understand what David is complaining about. There was a link to ALIPAC’s website, so obviously they do have a statement. If you check back David can you please clear up what your beef is?

  23. Moon-howler

    Ok folks, I am going to go out on a limb here. I see absolutely nothing wrong with saying ‘illegal alien’ or ‘illegal immigrant’ if the situation warrants it. I can see that a in a court of law this might be useful language.

    Where do we draw the line though about what is acceptable speech? Is ‘anchor baby’ acceptable? How about ‘illegals’? How about ‘vermin’ which we have all seen in print right here in Manassas. Would the expression ‘Operation Wetback’ be considered appropriate in 2008 like it was back in the 50’s?

    It seems to me that we are headed down a slippery slope here. Remember, Operation Wetback was a government term, not some words some troll on a blog kept writing.

  24. That’s the problem, MH, is when that kind of rhetoric gets into government (i.e. “invasion”) it becomes acceptable to treat people poorly. Sure, I’d prefer the law call “illegals” “undocumented immigrants,” but that isn’t half as bad as referring to people as “vermin” or “invaders” or all those lovely other terms we hear from the hate mongers. There must be limits somewhere, a balance. It was just a few years ago that the “n” word was considered “normal” despite how it made African Americans feel.

  25. Juturna

    I am exploring the ALIPAC website. Fascinating…….. Anybody else checked it out?

    Our friend Vrigil Goode has a few pages dedicated to him.

  26. By the way, the term “alien” is official US Government terminology under ICE immigration status listings.

    The words “illegal alien” are in immigration law and citizenship literature. I sincerely doubt any credible lawyers would try to ban those words from the courts without going to the source which is, once again, the federal government.

    I agree Pinko that “illegal alien” is a legal term

    You guys give way too much credence to the state. Do you really think the favor is returned?

    The law is an industry, or more accurately, a monopoly. It is not a divine incarnation. We are the source of it’s legitimacy. Something is wrong or it’s right because we say so.

  27. Moon-howler

    Juturna, Please post what you find.

    I see that the initial story I liked to seems to have poofed.

  28. Juturna

    I did post them on the new thread – as a reminder of why we are here!

  29. Moon-howler

    Thank you Juturna.

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