Cardona v. Power Page 2

Cardona v. Power general information

Media for Cardona v. Power

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1966 in Cardona v. Power

Paul O'Dwyer:

It was condemned by Senator Wagner.

It was condemned by the progress of that date but it was enacted in the state of hysteria.

In connection with the --

Potter Stewart:

Was the legislation signed by the Governor?

Paul O'Dwyer:

It was signed by the Governor.

It was after it had this period of hysteria had prevailed.

I may say that we come to the questions which are raised here with regard to whether or not the 4 (e) and the New York State statute are intertwined and it would seem to me that they are.

It would seem that the justification for the passage of 4 (e) has been because of the discriminatory character of the legis -- New York State legislation.

It would seem that one of the things which I think has been overlooked is that in somewhere about 1946 as a result of a committee from Columbia University, a travel to Puerto Rico to examine the educational facilities there and the results upon the children of Puerto Rican schools and found that our attempt to Englishized had totally failed and it was as a result of that was a new method was developed whereby this appellee and other children born in Puerto Rico have no choice but to read and write, and learn American history and civics through the medium of Spanish.

So that for all intents and purposes, we have -- we are a country of two languages.

We have fostered one throughout this island.

We have developed it there.

Of the 19 states which have a literacy test, there are some like the State of Louisiana which permitted at least in the language of one's forebears in the mother tongue as well as in English.

Hugo L. Black:

May I ask you?

Paul O'Dwyer:

Yes, sir.

Hugo L. Black:

You said children?

Is it the plaintiff here -- petitioner a child?

Paul O'Dwyer:


The petitioner was born, raised, and educated and voted in Puerto Rico before coming to New York --

Hugo L. Black:

When did she come to New York?

Paul O'Dwyer:

She came about approximately 1950.

It was the -- at that time, the committee from Columbia --

Hugo L. Black:

Has she not learned any English since that time?

Paul O'Dwyer:

She has not learned any English since that time.

She has not learned sufficient to be able to engage in conversation and I may say parenthetically there are many people who are not capable of doing it even though they're be highly literate in another language.

They have blocks with respect to it and it is not on common in a place like New York City where we have three daily newspapers dealing with all problems of history, civics, and politics, where we have radio stations and television stations dealing in the Spanish language that they continue to do that.

But one other things which I'm afraid that those of us who are constantly confused, the Puerto Rican with every other foreigner who comes to the shore.

This man is came as -- became a citizen by virtue of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, the Jones Act in 1917, and by further enactments of the Congress to the United States which gave a sanction to the Constitution of Puerto Rico.

And then in 1947 when the United States Government, went before the United Nations and/or to establish our right, not to make various reports from time to time under the provisions of the colonial powers, we obtained and received permission from the United Nations to deal with this into the -- provide dealing with that in that fashion.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

May I ask Mr. O'Dwyer?