Wisconsin State Bar Faces Lawsuit Over DEI-Based Program

A lawsuit was recently filed against Wisconsin’s State Bar over its affirmative action hires that fall in line with the left’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

The lawsuit, filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), claims that the state bar’s “Diversity Clerkship Program” violates the 14th Amendment by discriminating against many attorneys in the Badger State.

“When the government discriminates based on race, it sows more division in our country and violates the Constitution in the process. WILL is standing up against discrimination and holding the State Bar accountable to the rights of its due-paying members,” an associate counsel for WILL, Skylar Croy, said.

The state bar’s “Diversity Clerkship Program” is described as a 10-week paid course for first-year Marquette University and University of Wisconsin Law School students. The individuals who can apply to take the course are those who have been “historically excluded from the legal field and who are in good standing may apply.”

Wisconsin attorney Daniel Suhr denounced the state bar’s program, saying it should be open for all students, regardless of race.

“Internships are competitive — as they should be. But when one group is given preferential treatment over the other to apply for these programs, the programs lose competitiveness and hurt all Americans,” Suhr said. “This also goes against my beliefs entirely. The State Bar should do better and expand these opportunities to all Wisconsin law students.”

WILL’s lawsuit argued that the “Diversity Clerkship Program” should not exist, arguing that it violates law students’ equal protection rights.

“For as long as the Bar is engaged in activities that are not germane to either regulating the legal profession or improving the quality of legal services, compelled membership is unconstitutional,” the lawsuit read.

Suhr also said that some of his free speech rights have been violated through several statements made by the state bar, including claims that suggest “Black Americans suffer from police brutality and crippling fear caused by systemic racism and implicit bias that is ingrained in our legal system.”

WILL’s lawsuit seeks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to prohibit the state bar from keeping its affirmative action-based program and to rule that Suhr’s free speech rights were violated.