- - Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which helps administer all of our federal trial and appellate courts, is trying to impose Critical Race Theory and its racist bias, stereotyping and discriminatory views on the federal courts, one “diversity training” session at a time.

Critical Race Theory — a Marxist framework that views society only through the lens of race-based oppression — is everywhere these days. In corporations, federal agencies, schools, and even the military, it sows hatred and division in the name of “dignity” and “equality.”

This ideology teaches that “Whiteness” is oppression and that all its manifestations — including “the nuclear family,” “objective, rational linear thinking,” and the idea that “hard work is the key to success” — must be stamped out. It rejects the most fundamental beliefs of our nation, that we are all equal under the law and should have the same opportunities to prosper and pursue happiness based on individual merit.

At its core, it rejects classical liberalism, especially its emphasis on equality under law, neutral legal principles, meritocracy and individual rights. It propagates racial stereotypes and teaches that the way people think and act is tied to their skin color, the same type of racist views taught in the segregationist South decades ago.

What greater institution, then, could its adherents topple than the courts — those temples to the high ideals that justice should be blindfolded, that all men and women are equal in the eyes of the law, and that every case ought to be judged not by the color of the parties’ skin, but by the content of their arguments?

The courts are now in the crosshairs of Critical Race Theory and, as is common, the attack is coming from within. This is particularly pernicious because it is those same federal courts that are supposed to enforce numerous federal civil rights laws that make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race in everything from voting to housing to employment.

The Administrative Office of the Courts has published its 2020 Strategic Plan and it includes a section on a variety of so-called diversity initiatives. They’re mostly framed in noble sounding language. Of course “equal justice requires … a commitment to non-discrimination,” and all employees must be “treated with dignity and respect and on a non-discriminatory basis.”

That’s all great — in principle.

The problem arises with the proposed strategy for implementing these otherwise laudable goals. Judges, it says, must “give special attention to diversity in their law clerk hiring practices.” What kind of diversity? Well, racial, of course.

The courts are directed to consider race in hiring their workforces. They must stack hiring committees based on race (a quota system), and expand “diversity, equity and inclusion training.” The Administrative Office is, thus, directing federal judges to violate federal laws that specifically prohibit racial quotas and making hiring decisions based on race.

That last item, “diversity, equity and inclusion training,” is especially concerning. Diversity training is a Trojan Horse for Critical Race Theory. It’s not about teaching people to put aside possible biases and to judge others according to the content of their character. It’s about ending “Whiteness” and forcing White people to acknowledge their “complicity in White supremacy.”

It holds that all caucasians are racially biased and constantly discriminate without even knowing it, whereas “people of color” are incapable of biased or discriminatory behavior. This is racial stereotyping of the worst kind.

It’s not enough that these trainings are Marxist hokum, they don’t even work to increase racial diversity. In fact, they often backfire and breed hatred and division, falsely claiming that our society is irrevocably divided into “oppressors” and “victims,” that racial identities are more important than our status as human beings and citizens, and that trying to achieve a color-blind society is just a way of continuing discriminatory treatment.

The Administrative Office is, nominally, a servant to the judges that make up the judiciary. In practice, however, it has almost total control over the day-to-day operations of the courts, including hiring, firing and promoting nearly all staff except the judges’ law clerks. That’s why these misguided programs should be scrapped. In fact, it raises the question: Is the Administrative Office discriminating in the hiring and promotion of its own staff?

If the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is as committed to ending discrimination on the basis of race as his past statements suggest, he should stop these programs immediately and launch a review of the hiring practices of the Administrative Office. Wanting diversity is no excuse for violating federal anti-discrimination laws or letting Critical Race Theory rot the courts from the inside.

In the meantime, however, lower court judges should take advantage of the protection that life tenure affords and object to any discriminatory “diversity training” mandates that the Administrative Office tries to impose.

Lady Justice is blindfolded for good reason, and judges more than anyone else shouldn’t forget it.

• GianCarlo Canaparo is a legal fellow, and Hans von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow, in the Institute for Constitutional Governance at The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).

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