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GOP AGs put Google, Meta and more on notice for 'bigotry' in DEI practices after Supreme Court decision

Thirteen Republican attorneys general are warning Fortune 100 companies their DEI practices may be "unlawful" in light of the Supreme Court's recent affirmative action ruling.

A group of Republican attorneys general are warning Fortune 100 companies that certain diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices are "unlawful" in light of the Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action last month. 

In an open letter Friday to a number of leading American corporations, including Meta, Apple, Coca-Cola, and Google's parent company Alphabet, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and 12 of his fellow Republican colleagues said the companies must end practices like racial quotas and preferences in hiring, recruiting, retention, promotion and advancement.

"Responsible corporations interested in supporting underprivileged individuals and communities can find many lawful outlets to do so. But drawing crude lines based on skin color is not a lawful outlet, and it hurts more than it helps," the attorneys general wrote. 

"Social mobility is essential for the long-term viability of a democracy, and our leading institutions should continue to provide opportunities to underprivileged Americans. Race, though, is a poor proxy for what is fundamentally a class distinction," they said. 

DEI PROGRAMS COULD CRUMBLE UNDER WEIGHT OF SCOTUS RULING: EXPERTS

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled in the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College case that colleges and universities could not include race considerations in their admissions process, effectively outlawing what's known as affirmative action and upending previous legal precedent that allowed it.

Democrat Attorney General Rob Bonta criticized the Supreme Court's decision, saying he is "deeply disappointed about the potential impact on ongoing efforts to create inclusive learning environments."

"While the ruling narrows the scope of permissible consideration of race in admissions, it does not diminish our resolve to pursue policies and practices that ensure equal access and opportunities for all students," he said. 

But Skrmetti and his colleagues noted that the court's decision has implications beyond higher education, saying that the ruling "also recognized that federal civil-rights statutes prohibiting private entities from engaging in race discrimination apply at least as broadly as the prohibition against race discrimination found in the equal protection clause," the attorneys general wrote. 

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"And the court reiterated that this commitment to racial equality extends to ‘other areas of life,’ such as employment and contracting. In sum, the court powerfully reinforced the principle that all racial discrimination, no matter the motivation, is invidious and unlawful: ‘Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,’" they said, quoting from the majority opinion.

"Accordingly, the Supreme Court’s recent decision should place every employer and contractor on notice of the illegality of racial quotas and race-based preferences in employment and contracting practices," they continued.

In an interview with Fox News Digital Attorney General Skrmetti said corporations "who want to be good citizens by creating opportunities for people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or disadvantaged communities can absolutely still do so."

"The issue is, you can't use race as the basis for making those decisions anymore. That's that's the lesson of the Harvard case," he said. 

In the letter, Skrmetti and his colleagues note, "Sadly, racial discrimination in employment and contracting is all too common among Fortune 100 companies and other large businesses. In an inversion of the odious discriminatory practices of the distant past, today’s major companies adopt explicitly race-based initiatives which are similarly illegal."

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Those practices, the attorneys general say, include among other things, explicit racial quotas and preferences in hiring, recruiting, retention, promotion and advancement. They also include race-based contracting practices, such as racial preferences and quotas in selecting suppliers, providing overt preferential treatment to customers on the basis of race, and pressuring contractors to adopt the company’s racially discriminatory quotas and preferences.

"As Attorneys General, it is incumbent upon us to remind all entities operating within our respective jurisdictions of the binding nature of American anti-discrimination laws. If your company previously resorted to racial preferences or naked quotas to offset its bigotry, that discriminatory path is now definitively closed. Your company must overcome its underlying bias and treat all employees, all applicants, and all contractors equally, without regard for race," they wrote. 

"We urge you to immediately cease any unlawful race-based quotas or preferences your company has adopted for its employment and contracting practices. If you choose not to do so, know that you will be held accountable – sooner rather than later – for your decision to continue treating people differently because of the color of their skin," they concluded. 

Will Hild, executive director of Consumers' Research, praised the Republican attorneys general for their position, saying, "The claim that Supreme Court jurisprudence regarding so called 'affirmative-action' in higher education allowed for the private sector to engage in plainly illegal discrimination was always dubious, but now it's completely moot."

"Corporations should be focused on serving their customers, while following the law, not engaging in repugnant, racist social engineering projects. This letter serves as a much-needed message from the states' top law enforcers, end your racist practices, or we will," Hild said. 

Fox News Digital reached out to Alphabet, Meta, Apple and Coca-Cola for comment but did not receive response by time of publication.

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