Legal News

Senator Tom Cotton Urges BigLaw Firms to Alert Clients on Risks of Race-Based Hiring Quotas
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

In a recent development, Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has taken a proactive approach by dispatching a letter to 51 prominent BigLaw firms, cautioning them to warn their clients about the potential risks associated with “race-based hiring quotas and benchmarks.” The senator’s letter, dated July 17, addresses a matter that has been gaining significant attention in the legal landscape and echoes a similar warning issued by 13 Republican state attorneys general to Fortune 100 companies.

Cotton, along with the Republican attorneys general, highlights the relevance of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race. The letter draws a parallel between Title VII and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination by recipients of federal funds. The U.S. Supreme Court recently invoked Title VI in June, ruling against race-conscious admissions programs at prestigious institutions like Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.

The primary thrust of the letters from both Sen. Cotton and the Republican attorneys general underscores the potential consequences of race-based employment practices in light of Title VII’s prohibitions. By invoking the recent Supreme Court ruling, they emphasize the importance of ensuring compliance with anti-discrimination laws in employment decisions. This heightened scrutiny prompts employers and legal professionals to be vigilant in handling Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs.


Sen. Cotton’s letter also serves as a warning that Congress will exercise its oversight powers to investigate instances of race-based hiring practices. Likewise, private individuals and organizations are likely to turn to the courts to address concerns regarding discrimination. As a result, employers and their legal advisors are urged to preserve all relevant documents related to DEI programs and initiatives, anticipating potential investigations and litigation.

Start your job search with BCG Attorney Search and discover your next big opportunity.

Unsurprisingly, these developments have drawn opposing viewpoints. Democratic attorneys general from 20 states and the District of Columbia have sent letters to Fortune 100 companies, expressing their disagreement with the warnings issued by the Republican attorneys general. According to a July 19 press release by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, the Democratic attorneys general believe that corporate efforts to recruit diverse workforces and foster inclusive work environments are not only legal but essential to reducing corporate risk for claims of discrimination.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

In their letter, the Democratic attorneys general reassure companies that corporate diversity-focused programs are lawful and encourage businesses to intensify their efforts in this domain. While they emphasize that race should never be the sole criterion for hiring employees, they advocate for a comprehensive approach to workforce diversification. This includes adjusting recruiting practices, enhancing retention and promotion strategies, and prioritizing leadership development and accountability.

The divergent perspectives on the legal implications of DEI programs and race-based hiring practices reflect a broader societal debate on promoting diversity in the workplace. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the benefits of diverse and inclusive workforces in fostering creativity, innovation, and improved decision-making. However, they also need to navigate the legal complexities surrounding these initiatives to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws.

As this issue gains momentum, businesses are well-advised to seek counsel from their legal representatives to develop comprehensive DEI programs that align with prevailing laws and regulations. Proactive measures to review and update policies, emphasizing transparency, accountability, and fair practices, can help companies mitigate potential legal risks while fostering a more inclusive work environment.

The recent letters from Sen. Tom Cotton and the Republican attorneys general have sparked intense discussion around race-based hiring and DEI programs in corporate America. As the legal landscape evolves, businesses must remain vigilant in their efforts to balance diversity and inclusion with legal compliance, seeking guidance from experienced legal professionals to navigate this intricate terrain. By doing so, businesses can contribute to a more equitable and diverse workforce while safeguarding against potential legal challenges.

Don’t be a silent ninja! Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.



Associate Attorney


ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY McKenna Snyder LLC, a law firm in Exton, PA has an immediate opening for an ex...

Apply now



Qualifications: HaasCaywood is seeking associate attorneys for our Coldwater and Sturgis, Michiga...

Apply now



Qualifications: HaasCaywood is seeking associate attorneys for our Coldwater and Sturgis, Michiga...

Apply now

Deputy General Counsel / Senior Deputy General Counsel


Cal Cities Culture and Mission Cal Cities is dedicated to creating a collaborative and inclusive ...

Apply now




Search Now

Education Law Attorney

USA-CA-El Segundo

El Segundo office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law attorney with ...

Apply Now

Education Law Attorney


Carlsbad office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law attorney with 4-...

Apply Now

Education Law and Public Entity Attorney

USA-CA-El Segundo

El Segundo office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law and public ent...

Apply Now

Most Popular


To Top