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Bender discusses Flores with 'Republic'

April 22, 2009

Professor and Dean Emeritus Paul Bender, of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, was quoted in an April 20 article in The Arizona Republic about the U.S. Supreme Court getting involved in a 17-year-old legal battle about how Arizona treats students who are still learning English.

In the article entitled, "U.S. high court may settle ELL controversy," Bender told reporter Pat Kossan the Supreme Court rarely wades into cases unless it expects to change a standing court order. This week, the Court heard Flores v. Arizona, in which a federal district court decided the state was not complying with the Equal Education Opportunity Act of 1974. Among other things, it requires schools to help students overcome language barriers that prevent them from fully participating in education programs.

Attorney Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest persuaded the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008 that the state still hadn't adequately funded an English-language-learner program, Kossan wrote.

The high court could set new limits on the power of the federal courts over states, she explained. "The tendency of this court is against federal intrusion in the way states run schools, prisons and other institutions," Bender said.

 However, he said, "If the court understands it still really is not a good situation, that there still really is not enough funding for the state to comply with what the state ought to be doing, then I think Hogan has a chance."

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law