On October 29, 2020, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a federal lawsuit challenging then President Trump’s “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” (EO 13950) that prohibited speech, activities, and workplace trainings that address or promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance to challenge EO 13950 on the grounds that it violated the guarantees of Free Speech, Equal Protection, and Due Process – fundamental rights secured in the United States Constitution.
The Executive Order, or Trump Truth Ban, went into effect on September 22, 2020 and applied to federal agencies, U.S. military institutions, grant recipients, and contractors. Federal funding was tied to compliance with the order, and the ahistorical belief system on which it was based. Former President Trump directed federal agencies to end trainings related to the discussion of inequality, critical race theory, or other forms of what he labeled “propaganda.” It went so far as to establish a McCarthy-esque hotline for people to report on the behavior of others.Though the Trump Truth Ban was later rescinded by the Biden administration, it already had a chilling effect and far-reaching consequences. The EO became the blueprint for states to craft their own anti-truth laws. Many of the same vague “divisive concepts” banned in the Executive Order reappear in current state legislation. Many state laws also include provisions that establish financial penalties for noncompliance.
Our litigation is supported by a broad coalition of national and local organizations, including the African American Policy Forum, which has condemned this censorship and created a social media campaign demanding the #TruthBeTold about our nation’s pervasive history of racism and sexism.
After former President Trump announced the “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, LDF swiftly filed a federal lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of the order as a violation of the First Amendment guarantee of Free Speech and the Fifth Amendment guarantees of Due Process and the Equal Protection of the Law. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance.
Read the full complaint here.
On January 7 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor suspended the implementation and enforcement of the Trump Truth Ban following a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the Executive Order in Santa Cruz Lesbian and Gay Center v. Trump. The Department of Labor issued guidance indicating that the Office of Federal Compliance Programs would cease investigations into suspected violations at agencies or contractors, stop enforcing the Executive Order, and disband the hotline established to make complaints.
On January 12, 2021, LDF along with co-counsel Winston & Strawn LLP, filed an amended complaint in NUL v. Trump. The complaint adds the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED) as a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit, which challenges the order on the grounds that it violates the free speech, due process, and equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution. For four decades, AAAED has been a leader in equal opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity training for its members, who consist of federal contractors and grantees in higher education and private industry.
Read the amended complaint here.
On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order revoking the Trump administration’s “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” (“EO 13950”). The Biden-Harris administration’s revocation of the Trump Truth Ban protects free speech and expression against the dangerous censorship imposed by Trump’s EO, and reflects this administration’s commitment to ensuring equity for all communities, and removing barriers to equal opportunity.
Read our press release here.
LDF has compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions about Critical Race Theory. Learn more about CRT, laws banning racial justice discourse, and how these fit into a larger effort to suppress the voices, history, and political participation of Black Americans.
Denying history and banning discussions of systemic racism upholds white supremacy. Our students deserve and need more than a white-washed, sanitized, revised version of American history. LDF and coalition partners are fighting back to protect truth. Learn more about our pro-truth advocacy and litigation.
This Executive Order sends a dangerous message aimed at constraining freedom of expression, stirring up racial enmity, and undermining gender equality. It is a blatant assault on the constitutional sensibilities of the American people to suggest that it is anything other than a thinly veiled attempt to punish the recipients of federal funds for supporting views with which President Trump disagrees.
The Order makes federal contracts contingent upon subscription to a false and revisionist history of our nation and compliance with censorship of what the administration deems “Divisive Concepts,” “Race or Sex Stereotyping,” and “Race or Sex Scapegoating.”