Lawsuit Filed In Tulsa Court To Stop Implementation Of 'Official English'

Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 12:08 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A University of Tulsa law professor has filed a lawsuit in Tulsa County District Court challenging the constitutionality of State Question 751.

The question was approved by over 75 percent of Oklahoma voters on November 2, 2010.

State Question 751 requires all official state communications to be in English or Native American languages, except as otherwise required by federal law.

11/3/2010 Related story: Lawsuits Expected After Three Oklahoma State Questions Pass

Jim Thomas says the plaintiff in the lawsuit, Delilah Gentges, would suffer actual and imminent injury in her employment as a direct result of the English only measure.

He lists Governor Brad Henry as the defendant in the lawsuit.

Read the lawsuit.

Thomas says in the suit, Gentges deals with a number of foreign refuges and this measure threatens her employment.

He also cites the right of free speech would be violated if the state question is not challenged.

State Rep. Randy Terrill said the filing of a lawsuit to block implementation of Official English is just another example of frivolous litigation promoted by fringe groups.

"Since Official English passed with the largest margin of any state question, it is clearly the will of an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of voters," said Terrill. "This is just another frivolous lawsuit filed by a liberal law professor trying to forum shop for a judge willing to thwart the will of the people. I believe this bogus lawsuit will not succeed, and the democratic will of the people of Oklahoma will not be undermined by judicial activism."

Terrill noted that 30 other states already have Official English laws. 

A hearing on Thomas' lawsuit has not been set.  He says he's planning to file an emergency request by next week asking for a temporary restraining order.