Huppenthal / Horne Ban on Mexican American Studies Held Unconstitutional; Thucky’s Blog Comments Cited Extensively by Court

Three years ago, when my colleagues here at BfAZ and I exposed then Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal as a closet racist, I knew we had done the right thing. But I didn’t know how right it would prove to be.

Huppenthal, or Thucky as we know him here, along with his predecessor, Tom Horne, had closed down the Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District. I don’t know much about that controversy, but I know this: If a student of any national heritage wants to learn more about that heritage, it takes a special kind of creep to deny her the opportunity to do so.

Students, with the assistance of David Morales, proprietor of the Three Sonorans blog and friend of this blog, other community leaders, and some very capable attorneys, challenged the legislation promoted and enforced by Horne and Huppenthal. A critical issue, it turned out, was whether Horne and Thucky were motivated by racial animus either in the enactment or the enforcement of the statute banning the MAS program. This may shock a few of you, but ole Thuckenthal didn’t acquit himself well on the witness stand. Imagine that? And those comments he posted at this site and others? Yeah, those didn’t play very well either. Here are the leading paragraphs in each of the first three sections of Judge Tashima’s opinion:

1. Enactment

Huppenthal’s blog comments provide the most important and direct evidence that racial animus infected the decision to enact A.R.S. § 15-112. Huppenthal not only voted for the bill, but was a key player in the effort to get it passed. Several of his blog comments convey animus toward Mexican Americans generally. Trial Tr. 95:18-23 June 27, 2017 (“No Spanish radio stations, no Spanish billboards, no Spanish TV stations, no Spanish newspapers. This is America, speak English.”); id. at 97:19-20 (“I don’t mind them selling Mexican food as long as the menus are mostly in English.”). Other comments specifically referenced and disparaged the MAS program and teachers in racial terms. Trial Tr. 101:17-18 June 27, 2017 (“MAS = KKK in a different color”); id. at 96:2-7. (“The rejection of American values and embracement of the values of Mexico in La Raza classrooms is the rejection of success and embracement of failure.”); id. at 98:13-22 (“The Mexican-American Studies classes use the exact same technique that Hitler used in his rise to power. In Hitler’s case it was the Sudetenland. In the Mexican-American Studies case, it’s Aztlán.”); id. at 99:5-8 (“The infected [MAS] teachers are the problem.”). Because these comments were made soon after the legislature debated and voted on the bill, they are highly probative of Huppenthal’s state-of-mind during the relevant period.

Defendants made no attempt to argue that these comments do not convey racial animus.23 Rather, they argued that Huppenthal’s public statements, which were facially neutral as to race, are more probative of his true intent. Trial Tr. 81:15-21 July 21, 2017 (defense counsel arguing in closing that “those private comments don’t reflect the public reasons for taking action against TUSD’s MAS program,” as they were not “reflected in the directives he issued regarding the program”). The Court is unpersuaded. The blog comments are more revealing of Huppenthal’s state-of-mind than his public statements because the guise of anonymity provided Huppenthal with a seeming safe-harbor to speak plainly. Huppenthal’s use of pseudonyms also shows consciousness of guilt. Had Huppenthal, a public official speaking in a public forum on a public issue, felt that his inflammatory statements were appropriate, he would not have hidden his identity.

  1. Enforcement

Huppenthal’s blog comments provide the strongest evidence that racial animus motivated the enforcement of A.R.S. § 15-112 against the MAS program, for the same reasons given above. The blog comments are more probative of the reasons behind enforcement of the statute because Huppenthal was Superintendent at the time, the ultimate decisionmaker in that effort. While enforcing A.R.S. § 15-112 against the MAS program, Huppenthal continued to make comments that disparaged Mexican Americans as a group, and linked that view to his fight against the MAS program.

  1. Conclusion Regarding the Fourteenth Amendment Claim

Considering the evidence, the Court is convinced that A.R.S. § 15-112 was enacted and enforced with a discriminatory purpose. Huppenthal’s anonymous blog comments are the most important evidence, as they plainly show that he harbored animus. The circumstantial evidence corroborates that direct evidence, and confirms that other actors held the same views. Given this wealth of evidence, the Court finds Horne and Huppenthal did not testify credibly regarding their own motivations. The passage and enforcement of the law against the MAS program were motivated by anti-Mexican-American attitudes.

[Emphasis mine]

Would the result have been the same had Thucky not been exposed? It would be impossible to know, or even hazard a guess. But when I first asked David Morales if those racist blog comments were a factor, his response was “big time.” Which means that maybe, just maybe, Tucson high schoolers one day may again be allowed to study their proud heritage because of what we did here at BfAZ.

And that’s a great feeling.

Strike that. It’s a fantastic feeling.

22 Responses to Huppenthal / Horne Ban on Mexican American Studies Held Unconstitutional; Thucky’s Blog Comments Cited Extensively by Court

  1. Hi friends, its enormous piece of writing about teachingand entirely defined, keep it up all
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  2. “Which means that maybe, just maybe, Tucson high schoolers one day may again be allowed to study their proud heritage because of what we did here at BfAZ.”

    Being able to study your cultural heritage is a wonderful thing. Trying to live your cultural heritage inside of a host nation leads to isolation and lost opportunities. Demanding that your cultural heritage be acknowledged and protected by law leads to the balkanization of the host nation, which is never good.

    So what is the actual plan for the Tucson District? Study? Isolation? or Balkanization? A lot depends on the answer.

  3. Congratulations, Mr. Lord, and other BfA bloggers who stood up for truth in public education.

  4. herr huppenthal we get the dividend every day. every day in arizona 100 latino kids turn 18 voting age. and they hate republiscum! add dreamers its 130 a day. ask former sheriff and now convict about it. if azdp would stop running clinton clones and start running grivjalda clones the latino vote would win us more state wide offices.

  5. John Huppenthal

    Bob, what was your dividend for your unethical and dishonest behavior?

    You got your head handed to you. You lost every single statewide race and every single seat on the Corporation Commission.

    And, you got a lot of people to believe something that is not true – a liberals wet dream.

    Congratulations.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Unethical and dishonest!

      “Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.”

      • For Sure Not Tom

        In case I was being too subtle, I’m saying you are the one who behaved muy unethically and with mucho dishonesty.

    • Frances Perkins

      Let’s see John, bounced out if office, racist law bounced out bounds, on your own words. You own it all, lock, stock, and barrel.

    • Dude! A Federal Court just declared in a very public way, that you pushed a major law based upon you acting with racist intent! And your first response on this blog site fails to deny your racist intentions! #fail

      • John Huppenthal

        The fact that it is a court opinion is meaningless. The foundation of our judicial system used to be the pursuit of the good through truth and logic, now it is consensus, a philosophy of positivism.

        You know something about this. You were successful in asserting that an Hispanic could only run against Russell Pearce, not his opponent.

        The judge’s Tucson Unified School District’s opinion that I have racial animus towards Mexican Americans is just silly. I grew up immersed in Hispanic culture in south Tucson, I was one of the few whites in a classroom of Hispanics, they came to my sleepovers and birthday parties, I went to their quinceaneras; I ran track and played football with Hispanics, an Hispanic fireman was my volunteer basketball coach. Ed Sotelo, a wrestler from Pueblo High School coached me to an undefeated season at Saint John’s elementary school in Tucson. The hundreds of hours I spent wrestling and weightlifting with the great Hispanic wrestlers of Sunnyside High School trained me for my undefeated season and my college scholarship.

        Living at the southern edge of Tucson, my family provided sandwiches and water to immigrants walking north.

        An Hispanic human resource manager gave me a huge break coming out of college – hiring me into a great job that allowed me to serve on City Council, State Senate, State House and Superintendent.

        All of my buddies and I escaped poverty and went on to graduate from college and success. Marcelino Lucero went from teaching me fractions in 3rd grade to being a Pharmacist. Richard Sanchez, an athletic director. Luis Rodriguez, an Avionics Engineer and, in retirement, a science teacher. Jesus Castro went from all-star half back to architect. Jimmy Ortega, another wrestler, a Vocational Ed teacher. The odds against that success are astronomical for even such a small group of kids. In my view, it is entirely values driven, and not the values of welfare and dependency.

        I have nothing but love for my brown brothers and sisters. I express that love in retirement by having volunteered every day for the last three years in South Phoenix teaching mathematics to highly at-risk students using my engineering degree. My three classes and after-school program are half Latino and half African American.

        My students like my approach so much that this year they will do over 2 million math problems – almost certainly more than any other 3 math classes in the U.S.

        Where I do have animus and the fire in my belly, the source of the Blog comments, is toward the teaching coming of our universities- the poison driving the TUSD MAS studies.

        Critical Race theory uses a Marx framework of oppression to teach young Hispanic children to hate whites. It is a skinhead philosophy.

        Leaders of the TUSD MAS were blunt about it, writing in a research journal their intent to “racimize” TUSD MAS classes. They put up posters glorifying Che Guevera and taught that Benjamin Franklin was a racist (right while I was in the classroom no less).

        Benjamin Franklin helped build the first schools for African Americans in the US, used his science skills to observe that Black children were every bit as capable of learning as white kids; associated with, encouraged and published every major abolitionist in the 18th century; and was the most influential voice leading Pennsylvania to be the first state to outlaw slavery and he led the first US Congress to outlaw slavery in the Northwest territories. His role was so well respected that he was elected president of Pennsylvania’s Abolitionist Society.

        Not a word about these facts to the students – just reasons to hate a founder and leading designer of our nation.

        By comparison, Che Guevara had 14,000 Hispanics shot in the back of the head in Cuba for expressing their first amendment rights and designed a country with a legal maximum monthly income for Hispanics of $20. What a role model you all espouse.

        This is all back now.

        The gloss of this judicial opinion is irresponsible and will likely trap TUSD in another decade of dysfunction. Over the last 17 years, TUSD has lost 14,000 students and is still shrinking by over 600 students per year – the equivalent of an entire school. Fewer than 30% of TUSD parents rate the quality of their child’s education excellent and in 7 short years, they have burned through three Superintendents – at least two of them superstars. The ethnic achievement gap between whites and Hispanics within TUSD grows every single year from 3rd grade to graduation.

        And, no, MAS studies did not reduce that gap even slightly.

        Your assertion that the court’s opinion demands respect is a joke.

        Go sell it to people who don’t think.

        • “You know something about this. You were successful in asserting that an Hispanic could only run against Russell Pearce, not his opponent.” Uhh, nope! You’re dead wrong. Russell Pearce and the East Valley Tea Party ran a sham candidate to hopefully split the recall vote. I exposed the sham plan and she voluntarily withdrew her candidacy. Wanna try again on that one?

        • “The fact that it is a court opinion is meaningless.” And that, John, is the problem with you self-described “law and order” folks. You say it, but you don’t mean it. And to be clear, the Judge who ruled that you acted with racist intent, first upheld the Arizona statute that you and your partner Tom Horne, used to defeat TUSD. But on appeal, the 9th Cir sent it back because the job was not complete. The 9th Cir told the judge to consider whether there was a racist intent behind the enactment of the law. And that is where your comments on this blog site proved extremely helpful in making a finding of “hell yeah, there was racist intent, just look at what Huppenthal was saying!” No matter what you say and do, that is a fact finding that will exist forever in Westlaw, Lexis, Findlaw…. If you think the judge was wrong, appeal it. That’s what real citizens due to show respect for the rule of law.

        • John, here is just a little refresher from Judge Tashima’s ruling:

          “Horne himself admitted that he did not enforce the statute against the Asian-American studies program in Tucson because he ‘was told that it was academically an excellent program.’ Although Horne and Huppenthal were told that the MAS program was academically excellent, they refused to believe it.”

  6. I would like to see a course tought here about the history of republican treason and sidition! a course in republican racism and vote suppression wouldn’t be bad either.

  7. Kudos to all.

  8. Carolyn Classen

    Well done Bob, you were brave and diligent in your expose. Congratulations. It is an honor to blog alongside you on this website. The MAS victory is being celebrated by many in Tucson, especially Three Sonorans (aka David Morales, who used to blog with me at Tucsoncitizen.com).

  9. For Sure Not Tom

    The pen is mightier than the sword! Or the IP address is mightier than the sword!

    Whatever! Well done! Congrat’s Bob Lord, for helping right a wrong!

    I hope kids get to learn about their heritage now, and I hope this is a lesson for bigots hoping to whitewash history.

    Before Thuckhead starts the inevitable whining, let’s fact check him: there is no guarantee of anonymity on a blog, or on the internet. There is no FCC rule, no federal, state, or local ordinance, and no promise of anonymity seems to have been given for this site.

    I wish there were laws about online data collection and privacy, but they don’t exist, and the current FCC chair is planning on making sure things stay that way.

    So Thuckhead’s claims that laws were broken by exposing his online actions are just the rants of a foolish man who did shameful things.

    And in case he tries some twisted 1A BS, the First Amendment applies to the government and speech, and free speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

    ThuckHead did shameful things on government time from government systems that caused harm to kids just wanting to learn about their history and to all of us taxpayers in court costs.

    Shameful things. Shameful racist things.

    Well done Bob Lord!

    • Thanks, but although I may have played the lead and certainly the most visible role, it really was a group effort. AzBM and David Safier were especially helpful in the effort.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Shout out to AzBM and David Safier! Thank you!

        I ran a blog in my spare time about 10 years ago, it was a lot of work, so thanks to all the bloggers here, we much appreciate the work you do and the chance to participate.

        For those kids in Tucson, I hope it helps them to know that America eventually does the right thing, and I hope it helps them to see Horne and Huppenthal called out.

    • ArizonaEagletarian

      Put more succinctly, “The KEYBOARD is mightier than the sword.”

    • Thuckenthal’s already whining. Via Daily Kos:

      Huppenthal said Tuesday he was not surprised by the ruling and said it was meaningless because the law is not likely to be enforced in the future.

      “The concern about what was going on in those classes was very real,” Huppenthal said.

      https://apnews.com/44b764b6bb124d0cb86623df49bb0dc1

      Why is is the party that always preaches personal responsibility refuses to own up to being wrong?

      And heartfelt congratulations to Bob Lord, AZBM, David Safier, & everyone else who made this happen.