Attorney General Daniel Cameron

Kentucky Attorney General Cameron Finds Unlawful an Executive Branch Training Program that Discriminates on the Basis of Race

FRANKFORT, KY – Attorney General Daniel Cameron has released an official Opinion concerning the Governor's Minority Management Training Program. The Opinion concludes that this taxpayer-funded, race-based program, created in 1995, violates both the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.

The mission of the Governor's program is to "develop exceptional [state government] leaders by providing opportunities to continually learn, improve performance and excel in their department/agency." But it is not open to all state employees.

Only employees who belong to "an ethnic minority" are eligible—that is, those who are "Hispanic or Latino, Black or African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, [or] Two or More Races." Consequently, many Kentuckians are excluded due solely to their race.

The Opinion highlights the United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Students for Fair Admissions, in which the Court explained that "[e]liminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it." And neither state nor federal law provides an exception for race-based initiatives like the Governor's program.

The Opinion goes on to state that because the Governor's program premises participation on the basis of race, it necessarily treats people differently because of their race. Moreover, the nature of this initiative—training employees to help them advance and perform well in the Executive Branch—means that those who cannot participate are at a disadvantage. This is unlawful under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.

All forms of racial discrimination are detestable. And the Opinion echoes Justice Thomas' finding that "[however well-meaning the authors of raced-based programs may be, experience has shown us that 'meeting social racism with government-imposed racism is . . . self-defeating[.]'"

Attorney General Cameron concludes the Opinion by emphasizing that the Commonwealth has both a moral and statutory obligation to prevent racial discrimination. But, the Opinion says, "we cannot meet this obligation while tolerating programs within state government itself—like the Governor's Minority Management Trainee Program—that discriminate on the basis of race."

View the full Opinion here.



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