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Five state attorneys general led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen have sent a letter to 100 high-profile law firms across the country, warning them against pursuing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The Foundation for Government Accountability applauds these attorneys general for standing up against radical policies and protecting equality under the law.

In the letter, the attorneys general discussed some of the alarming trends towards race-based quotas and fellowships as well as preferential consideration for hiring and promotions. The attorneys general reminded the firms of the obligations of employers to refrain from discriminatory practices and reminded them that differential treatment based on race is unlawful.

They also note that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on affirmative action cited clear precedent on discrimination, and that failure to abandon discriminatory practices like DEI in hiring could and would lead to being held accountable.

According to Attorneys General Austin Knudsen (MT), Tim Griffin (AR), Brenna Bird (IA), Kris Kobach (KS), and Daniel Cameron (KY):

  • 79 percent of law firms “require diversity within a pool of candidates for management and leadership roles (and of those, an average of 25 percent of slated candidates must be diverse).”
  • 57 percent of law firms “tie a component of partner compensation to diversity efforts.”
  • 48 percent of law firms “say that Practice Group Leaders have clear diversity and inclusion goals included as part of their annual performance review.”
  • 31 percent of law firms “shared a specific, time-bound action plan to increase the representation of diverse groups in leadership positions.”

“The Supreme Court is clear on this: Basing hiring decisions on race, or treating employees differently based on the color of their skin, is discriminatory and unacceptable under the law,” said FGA’s senior legal fellow David Craig. “The attorneys general are right to stand firm on this issue and make clear that they stand ready to defend the constitutional rights of the people they serve by putting a stop to the DEI discriminatory fad even if that means taking on America’s most powerful legal institutions.”

“DEI is not only discriminatory—it’s a direct threat to freedom because it undermines Americans’ civil liberties,” said FGA senior fellow Eric Bledsoe. “State leaders across the country should follow the lead of these attorneys general and states like Florida in pushing back against DEI initiatives, if not banning them outright, in order to promote excellence over equity.”

FGA recently featured Attorney General Knudsen in a video series, in which he discussed ESG and over-regulation.



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