Press Release: News Release August 2002: State Bar Opposed to English Only Resolution:

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    News Release August 2002: State Bar Opposed to English Only Resolution

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    For Immediate Release
      CONTACT: Jason Westphal
    State Bar of Wisconsin
    (800) 444-9404, ext. 6077
    org jwestphal wisbar wisbar jwestphal org

    State Bar Opposed to English Only Resolution

    MADISON, August 16, 2002 - Noting its likely negative impacts on the court system, representatives from the State Bar of Wisconsin recently urged County Executive Nancy Nusbaum to veto the "Brown County Diversity Resolution." The proposal, approved last month by the board of supervisors, makes English the official language of Brown County government.

    The growing presence of non-English speakers in the court system is a matter of great concern to lawyers and judges statewide. Thus, the State Bar supports a court system that is fairly administered and impartial to all people, regardless of their language or national origin.

    "We have problems in this county that this resolution will not make go away," said George Burnett, the Bar's president-elect. "If we make it more difficult for people to use our court system, that simply means that police and other public officials will have to deal with problems firsthand, making their jobs harder and increasing costs for the tax payers."

    Access to justice and fairness to litigants compels the use of skilled interpreters of sign and other languages in court proceedings. As a result, Bar leaders have long advocated for adequate state funding for the court system, including interpreters' services, so that the judiciary may dispense justice to all who come before our courts.

    The State Bar of Wisconsin is the mandatory professional association, created by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, for attorneys who hold a law license in Wisconsin. With more than 20,000 members, the State Bar aids the courts in improving the administration of justice, provides continuing legal education for its members, and assists Wisconsin lawyers in carrying out initiatives to educate the public about the legal system.