Civil Rights Organizations Challenge Executive Order 13950 in Court
Yesterday, two civil rights organizations – the National Urban League (NUL) and the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) – filed a class action lawsuit in the US District Court for District of Columbia, challenging Executive Order 13950, entitled Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.
The Order, the Complaint alleges, “is an extraordinary and unprecedented act by the Trump Administration to undermine efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace.” Indeed, the Complaint continues, the Order “strikes at the heart of those critical efforts by government and non-government actors . . . to eradicate race and sex stereotyping and other continuing manifestations of entrenched discrimination and bias against people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals.”
The NUL and NFHA have sued on their own behalf and on behalf of
[a]ll persons and entities who contract, bid to contract, or intend to bid to contract with, or who receive or intend to seek to receive federal grant funds from, the United States government or any federal agency, department, or division and who offer or intend to offer “workplace training” or programming concerning racial and/or gender discrimination and/or undertake work intended to examine and dismantle racism and gender discrimination.
The Complaint names President Trump and Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, in their official capacity, as well as the US Department of Labor.
The Complaint advances three causes of action. The Order, it contends:
- violates the First Amendment’s free speech protection by silencing viewpoints that the Administration disfavors;
- is void for vagueness, under the Fifth Amendment, because it fails to provide fair notice of what conduct it requires and fails to provide any explicit, objective standards for enforcement; and
- violates the Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process clauses by penalizing employers “seeking to eradicate discrimination in the workplace and to ensure a hostility-free work environment for people of color, women, and/or LGBTQ individuals.”
Among other things, the Complaint seeks a “permanent injunction enjoining [President Trump], his officials, agents, employees, assigns, and all persons acting in concert or participating with them from implementing or enforcing any part of EO 13950. Once served, the Defendants will have 60 days in which to respond to the Complaint in Court.
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