State sued for demanding racial quotas on boards

A new lawsuit has been filed against the state of Tennessee over its demands that state boards and commissions include racial quotas.

The announcement from the Pacific Legal Foundation says the case is on behalf of Do No Harm, an association of medical professionals.

“The Tennessee Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners requires one board member to be a racial minority, which has nothing to do with podiatry. A seat reserved for a racial minority opened in June 2023, and despite no shortage of qualified podiatrists in Tennessee, the governor has not made any appointments to the board,” the PLF explained.

Lawyer Laura D’Agonstino said, “Tennessee law forces governor after governor to engage in racial discrimination when making appointments to state boards and commissions. Using race to make appointments to government boards is not only demeaning and unconstitutional, but it undermines the distinctive spirit of the Volunteer State by precluding opportunities for Tennesseans to serve their local communities.”

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The complaint points out the demand is “demeaning, patronizing, un-American and unconstitutional.”

The legal team noted Tennessee is far from the only state with such demands, because 25 actually “codify such unconstitutional discrimination,” and it is working to eliminate those with race and sex quotas.

“State medical boards are given important responsibilities to oversee the quality of care in their state and the safety of patients. It is crucial that they be the most qualified physicians available. Like all aspects of healthcare, patient safety and patient concerns should be primary, not the skin color or the racial makeup of any oversight committee,” said Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, board chair of Do No Harm.

Should Tennessee use racial quotas for state board positions?

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The case seeks a court declaration that racial mandates violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment in the Constitution as well as an injunction forbidding the governor and others from enforcing those racial requirements.

The complaint notes that lawmakers questioned whether their idea was constitutional when they adopted it. And it further notes lawmakers failed to hold any mention “of the governmental interest behind imposing a race-based classification for more than 70 Tennessee boards.”

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