Following Affirmative Action’s Demise, Slay the DEI Leviathan

On Thursday, Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez announced that its embattled associate dean for “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI), Tirien Steinbach, has resigned. Steinbach’s all but assuredly forced “resignation” followed an outpouring of disgust from Americans revolted by her disgraceful antics during the Stanford Federalist Society student chapter’s attempted hosting in March of a speech by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan, which was constantly disrupted by outlandish student behavior and ultimately canceled. Steinbach’s resignation represents a modicum of justice following a grievous wrong. Now, Steinbach will have plenty of time to mull over whether the “juice” of her abetting an obstreperous law school student woke mob was worth the “squeeze” of her eventual dismissal.

Steinbach’s overdue “resignation” is the latest domino to fall in a rapid succession of righteous pushbacks against the roving academic and corporate diversitycrat commissars who collectively comprise America’s DEI regime. Perhaps not coincidentally, these dominoes have all fallen after last month’s landmark vindication of constitutional colorblindness, and defeat for race-conscious affirmative action programs, in the consolidated U.S. Supreme Court cases of Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard College and SFFA v. University of North Carolina. Following the demise of affirmative action at the Court, the next goal for proponents of colorblindness and foes of racial determinism is clear: Slay the DEI Leviathan.

Last Thursday, a coalition of 13 Republican state attorneys general, led by Kansas’ Kris Kobach and Tennessee’s Jonathan Skrmetti, sent a letter to the CEOs of all Fortune 100 companies “to remind (them) of (their) obligations as … employer(s) under federal and state law to refrain from discriminating on the basis of race, whether under the label of ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ or otherwise.” The attorneys general cite numerous laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, to bolster their anodyne contention that racial discrimination in the workplace is “both immoral and illegal.” While the Court’s opinion in SFFA did not directly touch on Title VII, Justice Neil Gorsuch’s concurring opinion correctly noted that Title VI, a sister provision of Title VII, demands the same colorblindness that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause demands. Naturally, therefore, so too does Title VII.

The result: Fortune 100 CEOs are now “on notice of the illegality of racial quotas and race-based preferences in employment and contracting practices.” An employer’s subjective intent, whether invidious or purportedly benign, is irrelevant. Fortune 100 DEI commissars, consider yourselves warned.

Similarly, on Monday U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent a letter to 51 of the largest global and national law firms to put them on notice that the “same principles” the Court relied upon in SFFA and the “plain text” of both Title VI and Title VII “cover private employers” just as clearly as Chief Justice John Roberts held the Equal Protection Clause covers universities. Accordingly, Cotton, himself a lawyer and former Fifth Circuit law clerk, warned the Big Law juggernauts that “Congress will increasingly use its oversight powers — and private individuals and organizations will increasingly use the courts — to scrutinize the proliferation of race-based employment practices.” Cotton ended his missive by specifically flagging DEI programs, whether those operating at law firms’ corporate clients or in-house at law firms themselves, as implicating these same legal concerns.

The upshot could not be clearer: Following the legal triumph of genuine human “equality” and the defeat of vogue leftist notions of “equity” in SFFA, DEI apparatuses nationwide should tread extremely carefully. Better yet, leading state attorneys general and members of Congress will be watching corporate diversitycrats like a hawk, threatening to sue, investigate or subpoena them if they stray too far and engage in race-conscious hiring, firing or other personnel decisions. Considering that the entire raison d’etre of the DEI regime is to do precisely this, the Republican attorneys general and members of Congress should find themselves with an overabundance of possible legal targets.

Following the abolition of the affirmative action regime in SFFA, the Right must now prioritize the abolition of the DEI regime. The two regimes, after all, are but two sides of the same coin: Affirmative action and DEI both place a premium on something as arbitrary as one’s race, which Justice Clarence Thomas correctly noted in his SFFA concurring opinion is an artificial “social construct.”

Whatever DEI commissars’ subjective intentions may be, the truth is that America endured a bloody, horrible Civil War to definitively settle the question of whether race is inherently determinative (a la Chief Justice Roger Taney in the infamous Dred Scott case) or, per Thomas, a mere social construct. The answer provided by the tragic death of 618,000 Americans in the Civil War, to say nothing of America’s second founding via the Reconstruction Amendments and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is clear: Our nation is colorblind to its very core. Race, accordingly, is just what Thomas says it is: an artificial social construct.

DEI, like all other forms of race-centricity or race-consciousness, is cancerous to a free people. It must be destroyed.

To find out more about Josh Hammer and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM

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About Josh Hammer

Josh Hammer is senior editor-at-large of Newsweek. A popular conservative commentator, he is a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation and a syndicated columnist through Creators. A frequent pundit and essayist on political, legal, and cultural issues, Hammer is a constitutional attorney by training. He is a former John Marshall Fellow with the Claremont Institute and a campus speaker through Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Young America’s Foundation, and the Federalist Society.

Photo: Stanford University, California, 1924. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

Notable Replies

  1. Just hope they don’t do the normal routine of sitting back, allowing liberals to keep their gains, see liberals push again until they’re stopped but with further gains, etc.

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