Following the Supreme Court ruling against affirmative-action programs, 13 state attorneys general sent a letter to all Fortune 100 companies to put them on notice that racial discrimination is not only wrong but illegal.
The AGs’ rationale is simple: Discrimination on the basis of skin color is habitual among America’s largest companies, but under both state and federal law, it is also illegal.
For example, the attorneys general cite reports demonstrating that “racial quotas and other explicitly race-based practices in recruitment, hiring, promotion, and/or contracting” have been adopted by banks, consulting firms, and tech companies on and off the Fortune 100 list, including “Airbnb, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel, Lyft, Microsoft, Netflix, Paypal, Snapchat, TikTok, Uber, and others.”
Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach told The Federalist that the Supreme Court’s recent Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard decision “precipitated the letter,” as the court made clear that “race-based admissions” and “so-called benign explanations for discriminating” violate the law. But the attorneys general also cited Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination in the workplace; 42 U.S.C. § 1981, which bans such discrimination in contracting; and numerous other court decisions.
“We urge you to immediately cease any unlawful race-based quotas or preferences your company has adopted for its employment and contracting practices,” wrote the attorneys general, led by Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti and Kobach. “If you choose not to do so, know that you will be held accountable—sooner rather than later—for your decision to continue treating people differently because of the color of their skin.”
Kobach told The Federalist the letter is a warning. It “puts the companies on notice that the ball is in their court and they need to address their own practices and determine if they are discriminating against applicants or subcontractors on the basis of race,” Kobach said, adding that “the companies deserve an opportunity to make corrections in the wake of [Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard].”
The letter did not address the potential for conflict with left-wing ESG standards, but Kobach told The Federalist abiding by the law should be corporations’ top priority. “Hypothetical implications of future investors making conclusions that their governance is inadequate may be something to consider, but first and foremost they need to comply with the law,” he said.
Will Hild, executive director of Consumers’ Research, echoed the importance of following the law in a statement celebrating the letter.“Corporations should be focused on serving their customers, while following the law, not engaging in repugnant, racist social engineering projects,” Hild wrote. “This letter serves as a much-needed message from the states’ top law enforcers: end your racist practices, or we will.”