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Louisiana Sued over ‘Unconstitutional’ Racial Quota on Medical Board

A medical watchdog group, Do No Harm, is taking legal action against Louisiana’s state law in federal court. They argue it violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause by requiring racial consideration in medical board appointments.

Plaintiff’s Profile

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Do No Harm is a Virginia-based nonprofit with a broad membership base. Its mission is to shield healthcare from divisive and discriminatory ideologies.

The Lawsuit’s Basis

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Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, Do No Harm filed the lawsuit titled Do No Harm v. Edwards. This legal action was initiated on January 4 in the Western District of Louisiana’s federal court.

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The Governor’s Role

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is named as the defendant in his official capacity. The upcoming governor, Jeff Landry, is expected to replace Edwards in this role.

Board Composition

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The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, targeted by the lawsuit, comprises 10 members. These members are appointed by the governor, with certain criteria for eligibility.

Controversial Legislation

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In 2018, Louisiana passed a law mandating racial criteria for some board positions. Four seats must be filled by minorities, a requirement that has sparked this legal controversy.

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Equal Protection Concerns

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The lawsuit argues that the racial mandate unfairly restricts consideration of qualified candidates. This, Do No Harm asserts, violates constitutional equal-protection guarantees.

Merit-Based Selection Advocated

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Dr. Stanley Goldfarb of Do No Harm emphasizes the importance of merit over race in board selections. He argues that such mandates corrode the mission and perception of the medical board.

PLF’s Stance

Laura D’Agostino from Pacific Legal Foundation highlights the lawsuit’s focus on preventing race or gender-based exclusion in community service roles. She underscores the significance of individuality in healthcare.

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Legislative Intent Questioned

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A key aspect of the lawsuit is the unclear legislative intent behind the racial quota. D’Agostino notes the absence of evidence justifying such a mandate.

Nationwide Impact

PLF’s report suggests that discriminatory mandates for public board appointments are a national issue. The report found race- or sex-based quotas in up to 25 states.

Debate on Diversity in Publlic Appointments

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The lawsuit against Louisiana’s racial mandate reflects a broader debate on diversity in public appointments. It balances the pursuit of diversity with constitutional principles and meritocracy in public service.

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