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US Trump diversity executive order: Civil rights group sues federal government for access to documents

00:10  01 may  2021
00:10  01 may  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump ’s executive order restricting government contractors and federal agencies from offering diversity training that the president says is "divisive" and "un-American." The complaint filed Thursday by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Critics say the executive order is a broadside against diversity and inclusion programs that will impair efforts by business and government to reverse decades-long patterns of discrimination and exclusion. A USA TODAY investigation found that more than 55 years after the Civil Rights Act, less than 2% of

Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump ’s executive order restricting government contractors and federal agencies from offering diversity training that the president says is "divisive" and "un-American." The complaint filed Thursday by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance in federal court in Washington, D.C., argues the executive order violates free speech rights in an "extraordinary and unprecedented act by the Trump administration to undermine efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace."

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund sued two federal agencies for failing to respond to public records requests for documents related to the Trump administration's executive order restricting the U.S. government and its contractors from conducting diversity training that examine systemic racism, white privilege and other race and gender bias issues.

A federal court judge blocked the executive order in January, and President Joe Biden reversed it shortly after taking office.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed two complaints this week, one against the Office of Management and Budget, the other against the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, saying the records are critical to understanding the motivations behind the executive order and the extent of its implementation and to assessing any harm that came from it.

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Critics say the executive order is a broadside against diversity and inclusion programs that will impair efforts by business and government to reverse decadeslong patterns of discrimination and exclusion. A USA TODAY investigation found that more than 55 years after the Civil Rights Act, less than 2% of the top executives at the nation’s largest companies are Behind the scenes, civil rights leaders and industry groups are exploring legal challenges to the executive order , similar to organized opposition to the president’s Muslim travel ban. Those efforts are expected to intensify if Trump wins reelection.

Each document posted on the site includes a link to the corresponding official PDF file on govinfo.gov. This prototype edition of the daily Federal Register on FederalRegister.gov will remain an unofficial informational resource until the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register (ACFR) issues a regulation granting it official legal status. These 37 executive orders can be downloaded in CSV/Excel and JSON formats. More information about our APIs and other developer tools can be found on our developer pages.

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The OFCCP declined to comment on pending litigation, and the OMB could not be immediately reached for comment.

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The stated objective of the executive order issued by former President Donald Trump in late September was "to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating."

The Labor Department told USA TODAY last year that the elimination of "race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating in employment" was "a key civil rights priority of the Trump Administration."

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Affirmatively advancing equity, civil rights , racial justice, and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our Government . Because advancing equity requires a systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making processes, executive departments and agencies (agencies) must By advancing equity across the Federal Government , we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone. For example, an analysis shows that closing racial gaps in wages, housing credit, lending opportunities, and access to

Each document posted on the site includes a link to the corresponding official PDF file on govinfo.gov. This prototype edition of the daily Federal Register on FederalRegister.gov will remain an unofficial informational resource until the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register (ACFR) issues a regulation granting it official legal status. These 55 executive orders can be downloaded in CSV/Excel and JSON formats. More information about our APIs and other developer tools can be found on our developer pages.

The order affected reinvigorated efforts to reverse patterns of discrimination and exclusion in the workplace after the death of George Floyd, a Black man, under the knee of white officer in Minneapolis.

Government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, nonprofits and any others that had federal contracts or had planned to apply for them halted or reconsidered training programs.

“The chilling effect of former President Trump’s Executive Order – which sought to rewrite this nation’s history by barring discussions about the legacy and impact of systemic racism and gender discrimination – demands a comprehensive evaluation,” associate director-counsel Janai Nelson said in a statement. “Federal agencies are obligated to provide the information necessary for LDF and any other interested members of the public to assess the dangerous impact this order may have had. And we are prepared to force the government to comply with its public information obligations to the full extent of the law.”

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Two campuses are halting diversity efforts in relation to the White House’s recent executive order against “divisive concepts” in federally funded programs. In a campus memo, the University of Iowa’s interim associate vice president for diversity , equity and inclusion, Liz Tovar, said, “Let us state unequivocally that It’s an admittedly thorny history, but it is history." Because the order talks about federal employees, agencies and contractors, there has been confusion, even among experts in higher education- government relations, as to its scope. Does the order apply to all federally funded entities

The lawsuit argues that Trump 's order will "radically reshape the civil service by drastically increasing the number and type of employees who are subject to dismissal." The NTEU, which represents 150,000 federal government employees, says Trump exceeded his authority under the merit-based rules for how federal workers are chosen for government positions, which only allow the president to exclude certain positions when “necessary” and “as conditions of good administration warrant.”

a man wearing a suit and tie: Donald Trump went beyond © Kelsey Kremer, The Register / USA TODAY Network Donald Trump went beyond "New York bluster," Boehner says.

A Trump White House memo in late September suggested rooting out "ideologies that label entire groups of Americans as inherently racist or evil" in diversity training materials by searching for keywords such as "white privilege," "systemic racism," "intersectionality" and "unconscious bias."

Asked about his executive order during the first presidential debate, Trump said: "They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place, it’s a racist place. And they were teaching people to hate our country. And I’m not gonna allow that to happen."

Biden responded, “Nobody’s doing that.”

“The fact is that there is racial insensitivity," he told Trump.

Trump's target was critical race theory, which teaches that racism pervades government and other American institutions, giving white people an advantage.

Trump seized on the issue following appearances by conservative activist Christopher Rufo on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

Rufo, director of the Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth & Poverty in Seattle, has called for conservatives and others to publicly oppose Biden’s reversal of the executive order. He’s also pledged to "wage relentless legal warfare against race theory in America's institutions" and is pushing legislation and litigation across the country.

“Right now, conservatives, moderates, and anti-woke liberals must make a choice: will you stand against critical race theory or will you enable it?” he wrote in a newsletter last week. “ This will be the crucial battle in the years to come and we must make it clear where we stand.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump diversity executive order: Civil rights group sues federal government for access to documents

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