As the Democrat candidate for the office of Arizona Attorney General, Kris Mayes stated at least twice in her pre-election debate with Republican candidate Abe Hamadeh on “Horizon” that, if elected, she would not prosecute doctors who violate the Arizona law that restricts abortions. Hamadeh was correct to explain repeatedly to her that an attorney general cannot pick and choose which State laws he or she enforces.
According to Arizona Statute 1.3.4, “as the chief legal officer of the State, the Attorney General is required to prosecute and defend in the Arizona Supreme Court ‘all proceedings in which the state or an officer thereon is a party or has an interest.’”
As attorney general, Mayes has not only refused to enforce the abortion legislation but also to not represent the State on a challenge to its law that prohibits transgender athletes from competing on women’s and girls’ sports teams. Then on Monday, going beyond her authority for a third time in six months, she ruled that the citizens’ initiative regarding English learner education that passed with 63% of the vote in 2000 can be ignored.
The English learner law requires that English learners receive instruction solely in English until they have reached English proficiency. Very specific exceptions can be made through waivers. Dual-language programs, on the other hand, allow at least 50% of the instruction to be in the students’ native language, usually Spanish. In addition, schools use their dual-language programs to entice the parents of English-dominant students into enrolling their children into their programs with the promise that they will learn to converse in the English learners’ native language. Funding is provided for them as well although the money is clearly meant for the English learners to learn English.
The evidence is overwhelming that English learners become English-proficient much sooner if taught fulltime through immersion methods than if their time is divided between English and their native language. Consequently, dual-language programs are neither productive nor lawful.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne’s immediate press release on the subject makes it clear that Horne will challenge Mayes on the issue in court. Whereas she claims the State Board of Education has the power to adapt models under legislation, Horne states, “Neither the legislature nor the board has the power to overrule a voter approved initiative.” He goes on to state that any parent may sue and if successful, “the school board, and the superintendent, and maybe the principal must leave office and cannot apply for their offices for five years.”
Mayes has made it perfectly clear that she has no intention of enforcing and/or providing support for any law that she does not agree with – seemingly anything that is not “woke.” She has thumbed her nose at the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Constitution, and the Arizona Revised Statutes.
If she is not removed from office as a result of Abe Hamadeh’s efforts regarding the last election, she should be impeached for not doing the job required of her.
Johanna Haver is author of Vindicated: Closing the Hispanic Achievement Gap through English Immersion (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).