Mexican-American Studies in Tucson, Arizona and the Acosta v. Huppenthal Decision

Molly Schiffer, Stephen A. Nuño


This note examines the political context surrounding the banning of the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, Arizona and the Acosta v. Huppenthal decision, which leaves the ban largely intact. The convergence of economic crisis and partisan politics contributed to the rise in anxiety over the demographic shifts of the state of Arizona, for which Mexican American Studies became a symbolic target for Republicans. Mexican American Studies was declared in violation of a new law passed by the Republican dominated legislature, A.R.S. § 15-112, by Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal, despite the conclusion by an independent audit he ordered which concluded otherwise. This left leaders within the Mexican American community and civil rights organizations with the conclusion that the ban on Mexican American Studies was politically motivated. This note explores the motivations by individual political actors, such as the current Attorney General of Arizona Tom Horne, and how he rose to power on a platform centered on the ban against Mexican American Studies.


Mexican American Studies; ethnic politics; Republican Party; partisanship; Tucson; Arizona

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.