Saturday, September 21, 2019

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Article Index

Cases

Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, (2001). Total Pages Read: 21

This annotation was based on the United States Supreme Court case of Alexander v. Sandoval.   Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 USCS 2000d, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in covered programs and activities.   In 1990 the state of Alabama enacted an amendment to its state constitution that made English the official language in Alabama. As a result, the Department of Public Safety required that the Alabama test for a driver’s license only be given in English.

Martha Sandoval sued James Alexander, Director of the Department of Public Safety, claiming that the English-only test was discriminatory. It was held in a 5-4 ruling, that there exists no private right of action to enforce disparate-impact regulations promulgated under Title VI.   The argument that the regulations themselves created a private right of action is off base; only Congressional statutes confer such rights. I found this case to be semi-applicable for any minority group (i.e. Mexican-Americans) as they consider grounds for claiming disparate impact due to the creation of a border fence because it tells them they cannot file private suits against the government individually.

 

 

U.S. v. 1.04 Acres of Land, more or less, situate in Cameron County, Tex., 538 F. Supp. 2d 995 (S.D. Tex. 2008).  Total Pages Read: 17

 

The United States Government filed a condemnation action against a private landowner in Texas under 8 U.S.C.S. 1103. The complaint sought a temporary easement on the landowner’s property to conduct surveying, testing, and other investigatory work necessary to plan the construction of part of the fence. The Court found that the government’s use of the Declaration of Taking Act was proper. The court overruled the private landowners objections.

This case demonstrated the enhanced powers the federal government has when going about the construction of the fence. This case, along with U.S. v 1.1 Acres of Land, really showed me that not much, if anything will stand in the government’s way of building the fence. The government can simply create new legislation that grants the Department of Homeland Security greater authority. Although the case did not get into the intricacies of the potential effectiveness of the fence, it provided a glimpse of the myriad of issues that can result from such a large government undertaking.

 

U.S. v. 1.16 Acres of Land, more or less, situate in Cameron County, Tex., 585 F. Supp. 2d 901 (S.D. Tex. 2008).   Total Pages Read: 15

 The case dealt with the rights of a private property owner in regards to land that was needed to build the fence in portions of Texas. The landowners objected based on recent amendments to 8 U.S.C.S. 1103. The Texas landowners contended that the amendments only permitted the federal government to take property “along the border” for construction of the fencing. The landowners asserted that “along the border” meant either on the border or touching the border. They contended that the government was not allowed to take land that did not meet these two requirements. Ultimately the landowners’ objections were overruled. It was held the court cold not submit its own interpretation of what the legislature believed to constitute “along the border”.This case did not deal with the proposed effectiveness of the fence in curtailing illegal immigration. The case did however bring light to other issues that were present in the region when the decision was made to build 700-miles of fencing along the Mexican-American border.   This case supported my overall conclusion that a fence should not be built because many factors, besides just the fences effectiveness are present when deciding whether to undertake a massive project such as a 700-mile fence.

 

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Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

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