Sunday, April 25, 2010

When Is Bilingualism Bad?

When it's a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees, and Canada might go there: Linguistics above knowledge.

Money quote:

If the Senate does not defeat it, Bill C-232 will amend the Supreme Court Act to insist that all future appointees to our highest court be fluently bilingual, and not just fluent in conversational French and English, but in both official legalistic languages. It will make it a prerequisite for justices to be able to hear all cases without the aid of translation.

In practical terms, the bill will restrict appointment to a very small number of bilingual legal scholars and lower-court judges. It will make it difficult for Canadians outside a narrow strip from Ottawa, through Montreal and Quebec City, and into Moncton, to ever be appointed to the court that has the final say over how the Charter will be interpreted and what rights we may have.

I don't know what the chances are that this Canadian bill passes, but the article suggests it's highly likely.

HT:morsmal via Twitter #linguistics).

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