Well here’s a doozy from the fevered brain of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
She serves up just what Rep. Mark Lowery wanted: An opinion that teaching critical race theory could be unconstitutional.
This is an opinion that shouldn’t have been issued in the first place because it’s based on a purely speculative question without a fact circumstance the questioner or the answerer can readily provide. The opinion begins:
This letter is in response to your request for an opinion regarding the legality of introducing critical race theory and professed “antiracism” in Arkansas public schools and universities. In this regard, you have asked the following question:
Does the introduction of practices based on “antiracism” and critical race theory in Arkansas public schools and universities violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Article II of the Arkansas Constitution, or other applicable nondiscrimination laws?
What do you mean by “practices”? Talking about racism? Mentioning the graduate-level construction of critical race theory espoused by some scholars? Asked and answered:
The answer to your question is yes. With certain qualifications set forth below, instituting practices based on critical race theory, professed “antiracism,” or associated ideas can violate Title VI, the Equal Protection Clause, and Article II of the Arkansas Constitution.
Big condition that “can.”
Rutledge’s opinion goes on to say:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its implementing regulations protect students who are enrolled in institutions receiving federal funding—including Arkansas public schools and universities—from discrimination based on race.
Of course, discrimination based on race is impermissible. Telling students that discrimination exists in this country, perhaps in systemic ways the students haven’t even thought about, is NOT discrimination. It is free speech. It is education.
Her opinion is rooted in a notion that is popular among Republicans today — it is racially hostile to white people to recite America’s history, dating back to founding documents, of discrimination. She has a lot of brass to quote Martin Luther King Jr. in the process.
The opinion, signed by Rutledge (she didn’t write it, be sure), pays lip service to some “limited” value of CRT at the university level and also to the First Amendment, just not for children
Consequently, although the First Amendment protects individual expression, it does not immunize a person or educational institution from violating others’ rights under Title VI, the Equal Protection Clause, or the Arkansas Constitution by engaging in prohibited race-based practices.
Perhaps angling for a gubernatorial endorsement from Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman, she works in a slam of the 1619 Project and smears the Smithsonian’s Museum of African-American History, too.
This is some pure-dee bullshit. I wish William Overton could be around to decide the federal lawsuit that would arise should Arkansas decide to apply this hokum to stifle a teacher in Arkansas.
Lowery is going to whoop it up at a Capitol news conference tomorrow. Bring your sheets and Confederate flags.
UPDATE: An observation from a legal expert, reluctant to be identified for fear of repercussions from the Arkansas Taliban:
“The so-called AG’s observations on teaching or discussing critical race theory. Doozy? In one respect it’s quite a masterful mixture of accurate clear legal rules with incomplete and suggestive nonsense (that arguably qualified praise certainly supports your statement that she did not write it; of course, she probably never writes any of “her” opinions). The attempt to use Garcetti in the context of academic freedom and university instruction is especially pernicious. And the assumption that, for example, high school students might be too fragile and immature to risk exposure to CRT is in turn condescending and ludicrous. What a joke, except it’s so sad”