Part I reviews and analyzes courts' attempts to reconcile the conflict between the statutory English-language requirement for federal jurors, Puerto Rico's almost entirely Spanish-speaking population, and the Sixth Amendment's constitutional mandate. This part consists of three sub-parts: a description of Puerto Rico's linguistic landscape in comparison with that of the United States, a history of fair cross section challenges pertaining to the District of Puerto Rico, and a comparative look at fair cross section challenges in the Ninth Circuit. Part II examines the tension between language and constitutional rights through the lens of one case, Diffenderfer v. Gomez-Colon. In this challenge to the policies of Puerto Rico's election commission, the district court relied on the Voting Rights Act, the Equal Protection clause, and the First Amendment to order the printing of bilingual ballots for the 2008 gubernatorial election. In light of the legal gymnastics and concessions required to reach the courts' holdings on both of these matters, this Essay concludes that the state of linguistic colonialism presently existing between the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is legally and morally untenable.
Andrea Freeman, Linguistic Colonialism: Law, Independence, and Language Rights in Puerto Rico, 20 TEMP. POL. & CIV. RTS. L. REV. 179 (2011).