Judicial Watch — RELEASE
UPDATED 10:43 AM PT – Wednesday, August 24, 2022
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Minneapolis taxpayer over a teachers’ contract that provides discriminatory job protections to certain racial minorities. The lawsuit was filed against the superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minneapolis Public Schools, and the Minneapolis Board of Education for violating the Equal Protection Guarantee of the Minnesota Constitution (Clapp v Cox et al. (No. 27-CV-22-12454)).
The controversial contract was agreed to in March 2022 to end a 14-day teacher strike. The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers ratified the contract shortly after the agreement was reached. The Minneapolis Board of Education ratified it in May of this year.
The Judicial Watch lawsuit states:
Among other things, the contract provides preferences, protections, and privileges for MPS teachers of certain races and ethnicities under a section entitled “ARTICLE 15. PROTECTIONS FOR EDUCATORS OF COLOR.” There is no similar provision covering educators who are not “of color.”
Under the contract, teachers of color are exempt from Defendant MPS’s seniority-based layoffs and reassignments, which means, when layoffs or reassignments occur, the next senior teacher who is not “of color” would be laid off or reassigned. In addition, the contract mandates that Defendants reinstate teachers of color over more senior teachers who are not “of color.”
Upon information and belief, prior to the contract, teachers were laid off or reassigned in order of seniority, with the least senior teachers laid off or reassigned first, without regard to race or ethnicity. Similarly, teachers were reinstated in order of seniority, with the more senior teachers reinstated first, without regard to race or ethnicity.
Article 15’s preferences, protections, and privileges for certain public-school teachers on the basis of race and ethnicity violates Minnesota’s Equal Protection Guarantee, which states that “no member of this state shall be disenfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.” Minn. Const. art. 1, § 2. The Equal Protection Guarantee is analyzed under the same principles and mandate as the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit asks the court to enter a judgement that will declare that all actions taken to implement the racial and ethnic preference provisions of Article 15 of the contract to be illegal. They are also asking that the court declare it illegal to use any taxpayer dollars to implement these provisions of the contract, and the defendants be prohibited from taking any actions to implement these racial and ethnic provisions.
“It is incredible that in this day and age a school system would engage in blatant racial discrimination in employing teachers,” stated Judicial Watch Tom Fitton. “The courts can’t move soon enough to shut down this extreme leftist attack on the bedrock constitutional principle that no one can be denied equal treatment under law on account of race.”
Judicial Watch is being assisted in the lawsuit by Daniel N. Rosen of Rosen LLC in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In a separate case, the city of Asheville, NC, in January 2022 settled a Judicial Watch federal civil rights lawsuit after agreeing to remove all racially discriminatory provisions in a city-funded scholarship program. Additionally, the city also agreed to remove racially discriminatory eligibility provisions in a related program that provides grants to educators.
In May 2022, Judicial Watch won a court battle against California’s gender quota law for corporate boards. The verdict came after a 28-day trial. The verdict followed a similar ruling in Judicial Watch’s favor in April finding California’s diversity mandate for corporate boards unconstitutional.