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Arce v Huppenthal
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Maya Arce, et al. v. John Huppenthal, et al.

Formerly Curtis Acosta, et al. v. John Huppenthal, et al.

Status: On appeal to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

FTRF involvement: amicus

Details: This lawsuit, filed by teachers and students in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) against the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction and other state officials, challenges the constitutionality of Arizona Revised Statute § 15-112, which prohibits the use of class materials or books that encourage the overthrow of the government, "promote resentment toward a race or class of people," are "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," and "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals." Tom Horne, Superintendent of Public Instruction at the time of the law’s adoption, issued a finding that TUSD was in violation of §15-112 because of courses offered as part of TUSD’s Mexican American Studies (MAS) program. John Huppenthal, Horne’s successor, issued a second finding that TUSD was in violation, and TUSD was forced to cease its Mexican-American Studies program and remove books from its classrooms, despite the fact that they have studies to support their position that the program has helped students to graduate and that the program is open to all students, not just Mexican-American students.

On March 8, 2013, ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court held that the statute did not violate the First Amendment. That ruling currently is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellants filed their brief on November 18, 2013.

On November 25, 2013, FTRF joined with several other organizations to file an amicus brief in support of the students' First Amendment claims.

On January 12, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case.

Legal documents: 

1. Appellants' filing with 9th Circuit

2. Amicus briefs filed with 9th Circuit in support of appellants

Freedom to Read Foundation & allied organizations

National Education Association & Arizona Education Association

Four authors & editors of books removed from MAS classrooms

Latina and Latino Critical Legal Theory, Inc.

Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy & Anti-Defamation League

48 public school teachers

3. Amicus brief in support of neither party: Pacific Legal Foundation

4. Judge Tashima's district court decision

Media coverage/statements/additional information:

FTRF press release on amicus brief filing

School Library Journal coverage of FTRF amicus brief

"A Year in the Life of Librotraficante" - American Libraries

FTRF & others: Joint Statement in Opposition to Book Censorship in Tucson Unified School District (Jan. 30, 2012)

ALA resolution Opposing Restriction of Access to Materials and Open Inquiry in Ethnic and Cultural Studies Programs in Arizona

Report on hearing in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (Jan. 12, 2015) 

Other links of interest:



Updated 1/15/2015