DEI in the Executive Branch

September 19, 2023 at 12:00 PM ET

The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

On President Biden’s first day in office, he signed Executive Order 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. He then signed Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce later that year on June 25, 2021. Taken together, these orders outline what President Biden has described as an “ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda.”

Executive branch agencies are now charged with creating, implementing, and assessing a large variety of DEI initiatives. As examples, agencies have been encouraged to hire a Chief Diversity Officer, workforce DEI training programs have been implemented and expanded, and federal health benefits have been augmented to include “comprehensive gender-affirming health care” for employees and their dependents.

These initiatives cost time, money, and resources, and they are not without controversy. Some question the legal grounding of these initiatives and assert that they run afoul of constitutional guarantees to equal protection of the law. A separate concern is whether federal DEI priorities fail on a utilitarian calculus and drain the federal government’s financial and manpower resources. Still, many Americans support the executive branch initiatives in both theory and practice.

Should the executive branch maintain such a robust focus on DEI initiatives? Is the current administration’s focus constitutional? Is it appropriate? Does it serve the American people? Please join us for lunch and discussion as an expert panel tackles these questions and more.

Todd Clark


Delaware Law School

Hans von Spakovsky

Senior Legal Fellow

The Heritage Foundation

Veronica Venture

Deputy Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties & Director of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Devon Westhill

President and General Counsel

Center for Equal Opportunity

Hon. Kenneth L. Marcus

Founder and Chairman

Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law

Race & Sex

Federalist Society’s Civil Rights Practice Group

The Federalist Society and Regulatory Transparency Project take no position on particular legal or public policy matters. All expressions of opinion are those of the speaker(s). To join the debate, please email us at [email protected].

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