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Racially Discriminatory Asheville (NC) Scholarship Program Challenged By Judicial Watch And Legal Insurrection Foundation

Racially Discriminatory Asheville (NC) Scholarship Program Challenged By Judicial Watch And Legal Insurrection Foundation

Complaint: “Plaintiff’s members include students within Asheville City Schools who are ineligible for a City of Asheville-funded scholarship only because they are not Black.”

The laws against discrimination on the basis of race apply without regard to the particular race discriminated against. Discrimination favoring blacks or non-whites is just as illegal as discrimination favoring whites.

That’s a core legal principle, but a principle that gets swept aside in an era where Ibram X. Kendi’s maxim that current discrimination is justified to remedy past discrimination is worshipped in academia, corporations, and government.

Most problems in life don’t have legal process answers. But racially discriminatory government policies and practices are subject to suit.We have covered numerous cases in which government programs that discriminated on the basis of race in favoring non-whites, for example:

A lawsuit now has been filed in federal court in North Carolina challenging a racially discriminatory government scholarship fund in Asheville, NC. Lead attorneys in the case are James Peterson, Esq. of Judicial Watch, and Asheville, NC, Attorney Ruth C. Smith, Esq. Ameer Benno, Esq. of Legal Insurrection Foundation is serving as Of Counsel in the case, lending his experience as a civil rights lawyer to the effort.

Judicial Watch issued a Press Release today announcing the lawsuit:

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a North Carolina citizens group, whose members include high school students, and are ineligible for a City of Asheville-funded scholarship only because they are not Black. The plaintiff in the lawsuit, WNC Citizens for Equality, Inc., is suing the City of Asheville, City Manager Debra Campbell, and the Asheville City Schools Foundation (ACSF) and its director regarding the city’s establishment of a racially discriminatory scholarship program.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (WNC Citizens for Equality, Inc., v. City of Asheville et al. (No. 1:21-cv-00310)).

On May 5, 2021, the City of Asheville entered into an agreement with Asheville City Schools Foundation to establish and administer the City of Asheville Scholarship Fund. According to the agreement, the City of Asheville Scholarship is “awarded in perpetuity to Black high school students within Asheville City Schools, with special consideration given for Black students pursuing a career in education.”

The new lawsuit argues that the scholarship is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a violation of the members of WNC Citizens for Equality’s rights to equal protection under the law and freedom from racial discrimination under the North Carolina Constitution.

The funds provided by the City of Asheville for the City of Asheville Scholarship came from the settlement of an unrelated lawsuit. On April 13, 2021, the Asheville City Council directed City Manager Debra Campbell and City Attorney Brad Branham to effectuate a “donation” of $474,592.56 to ACSF. The City Council stated that it expected the funds would be used “in such a way as to provide the public benefit of advancing racial equity within the community.” A later, smaller donation also was made by the City of Asheville to ACSF for the same purpose.

According to ACSF’s website, the first City of Asheville Scholarship was awarded in May 2021. ACSF will begin accepting applications on November 1, 2021, and through January 31, 2022, for the next City of Asheville Scholarship to be awarded.

The lawsuit asks the court to declare the discriminatory scholarship scheme is in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution. Partnering with the Judicial Watch in the lawsuit is the Legal Insurrection Foundation.

“It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race and setting up a ‘blacks only’ scholarship is wildly unconstitutional,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This civil rights lawsuit seeks to ensure that no student in Asheville is denied educational scholarship opportunities on account of race.”

The Complaint first describes the landscape of the case:

Plaintiff WNC Citizens for Equality, Inc., by counsel, brings this action against Defendants City of Asheville, Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell, The Asheville City Schools Foundation, and its executive director Copland Arnold Rudolph for violating its members’ rights to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and violation of its members’ rights to equal protection and freedom from racial discrimination under the North Carolina Constitution. Plaintiff’s members include students within Asheville City Schools who are ineligible for a City of Asheville-funded scholarship only because they are not Black….

The scholarship in question, and the involvement of government, is described as follows:

10. On May 5, 2021, the City of Asheville entered into an agreement with [The Asheville City Schools Foundation] ACSF to establish and administer the City of Asheville Scholarship Fund. See attached Exhibits 2 and 3. The program is to award two types of scholarships. The first scholarship is to be “awarded in perpetuity to Black high school students within Asheville City Schools, with special consideration given for Black students pursuing a career in education.” This scholarship is known as the “City of Asheville Scholarship.” The second scholarship is to be directed to “Black, Indigenous, or People of Color” who are educators or staff of Asheville City Schools and who are pursuing further education or certification. While both scholarships constitute illegal discrimination, only the “City of Asheville Scholarship” is being challenged here.

11. The funds provided by the City of Asheville for the City of Asheville Scholarship came from the settlement of an unrelated lawsuit. On April 13, 2021, the Asheville City Council directed the City Manager and City Attorney to effectuate a “donation” of $474,592.56 to ACSF. The City Council stated that it expected the funds would be used “in such a way as to provide the public benefit of advancing racial equity within the community.” See attached Exhibits 2 and 3. A later smaller donation also was made by the City of Asheville to ACSF for the same purpose.

12. The agreement between the City of Asheville and ACSF governs the terms and conditions under which the City of Asheville Scholarship is awarded. Among other terms and conditions under which the City of Asheville controls the program, ACSF must provide twice annual written reports on the use of the funds to the Asheville City Council. Furthermore, the City of Asheville has the authority to demand the return of any funds provided to ACSF should ACSF fail “to utilize the funds in the manner and for the purpose herein described.”

13. According to ACSF’s website, the first City of Asheville Scholarship was awarded in May 2021. ACSF will begin accepting applications on November 1, 2021 and through January 31, 2022 for the next City of Asheville Scholarship to be awarded. Pursuant to a press release issued by the City of Asheville, the City of Asheville Scholarship will continue to be awarded twice annually until funds have been exhausted (or two years following the date of donation), whichever comes first. See Exhibits 4, 5 and 6.

14. Plaintiff’s Student Members are Asheville High School students and, if eligible, would apply for the City of Asheville Scholarship.

15. Plaintiff’s Student Members are ineligible because they are not Black.

The following counts are asserted:

COUNT I
(42 U.S.C. § 1983 – EQUAL PROTECTION)

COUNT II
(42 U.S.C. § 1985 – CONSPIRACY)

COUNT III
(VIOLATION OF NORTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Violation of Equal Protection and Unlawful Discrimination)

Injunctive and declaratory relief is sought.

This brings to mind Chief Justice Robert’s statement that “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” It’s really that simple. Just stop.

The Legal Insurrection Foundation is looking into similar government-administered racially discriminatory practices in education.

[Featured Image: Screen grab via YouTube]

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Comments

Thank you for trying to re-establish sanity.

I pray for a prompt judgment in your favor.

Talk about tilting at windmills! This kind of thing is everywhere and has been for decades.

Good luck, though. It’s a windmill that deserves to be fought.

    Milhouse in reply to irv. | October 21, 2021 at 1:56 am

    It’s my understanding that until now all such scholarships are run either (1) by private entities that are not subject to the anti-discrimination laws; or (2) by universities themselves, who are (until the Supreme Court finally changes its mind) allowed to pursue the goal of a racially diverse student body, since this allegedly improves the education for all students.

    This program seems different because it is not run by a university but by the city, which has no legitimate interest in the makeup of any university’s student body, and is also a government entity and thus subject to the 14th amendment as well as the anti-discrimination laws. Therefore it can be challenged, and it will be interesting to see what sort of defense the city manages to come up with, other than sputtering with outrage.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Milhouse. | October 21, 2021 at 5:45 am

      What do you have written makes perfect sense. Now I’m wondering how many down ticks you will get for it.

    Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to irv. | October 21, 2021 at 11:06 am

    PREMISE: It’s a windmill that deserves to be fought.

    SNORT: It’s not a windmill at all. It’s a conspiracy by a self-nominated racial nobility seeking to do good by doing an evil which has been clearly identified since the Declaration of Independence. First, rectify the evil – end the racism. Second: summon the tumbrils. Third: transport said nobility to their proper destination.

Racists demanding handouts deserve to have all past and present handouts canceled.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to JohnSmith100. | October 21, 2021 at 5:46 am

    They need to be told, that if there is good as everybody else, then they don’t need all the special programs. Stop the programs, kick them out of the nest. Tell them you’re equal. You’re on your own. Sink or swim.

    MajorWood in reply to JohnSmith100. | October 21, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    I really got someones ire the other day by mentioning that we have had reparations in force since 1964 in the form of the welfare system and by my calculations, money needs to start getting paid back. The fact that the recipients have chosen to spend in poorly for 55 years is not my concern.

I lived in Asheville until 2018, when I fled. I know some of the people involved here personally. Asheville is the tip of the progressive vortex. Watch out.

If you follow the link to read the actual complaint and scroll down to the exhibit that is the contract establishing the scholarship it shows how gloriously stupid people are.

Section 1: Establishes 1st scholarship is for black students ONLY and the 2nd scholarship is for staffers that are bipoc ONLY.

Then scroll down to Section 10:
(Ironically titled No Discrimination) ACSF shall not discriminate against any employee, applicant for employment or any other person in the performance of this Agreement because of race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, age, disability, or other circumstance prohibited by federal, state, or local law or ordinance.

How could anyone lawyer even allow those two criteria in that same contract???

An HBCU or an affinity alumni group or other private entity setting the criteria for a scholarship recipient is one thing. A govt entity is quite another. Thanks for jumping out in front of this and stopping it before it becomes commonplace.

“A lawsuit now has been filed in federal court in North Carolina challenging a racially discriminatory government scholarship fund in Asheville, NC. ”

It is [past] time for state governments such as NC to stop racial discrimination by their underlings. Cities do not have any power beyond what is granted to them by the sovereign state

Diversity (i.e. class-based judgments and labels), inequity, and exclusion, not limited to racism, including affirmative discrimination.

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