MADISON, Wis. – Part of the new Madison Civil Police Supervisory Board is being challenged by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty for imposing what it calls “unconstitutional racial quotas”.
WILL filed a Claim Notice on Wednesday on behalf of seven Madison residents. They believe the city violated the constitution’s ban on racial discrimination by requiring that nine members of the Police’s Civil Supervisory Board, with eleven members, belong to specific racial groups.
“The city of Madison may think it is promoting racial progress, but this policy is actually hiding deeply regressive racial discrimination policies,” said WILL president and general counsel Rick Esenberg in a press release.
Madison Joint Council approved an ordinance in September to create the framework, and accepted nominations for board positions after that. Nine community organizations nominated three people each, with the board requiring four members of the Civil Police Supervisory Board to belong to the following racial groups: African American, Asian, Latin and Native American. O first round of nominees to the board at the end of September.
News 3 Now asked Madison City Attorney Michael Haas about the legality of requiring a number of people on the council to be black in September, when the council was announced.
“As the case law that prohibits racial quotas is related to educational and employment opportunities, we cannot conclude with certainty that a court would extend an analysis similar to such requirements to a Civil Oversight Board,” said Haas at the time. “There are several potential distinctions that can be made between the purpose and legality of the affirmative educational and employment action programs in question in previous cases and the purpose of ensuring a diverse police oversight board, which aims to improve general public security, ensuring that the Council includes the representation of historically disadvantaged communities and those who have experienced interactions with MPD. “
The Council is charged with appointing an independent police monitor, conducting police assessments and making recommendations on the use of force and official discipline. However, the Council will not have the authority to actually discipline or fire officers – that responsibility will still lie with the city’s Police and Fire Department.
In this case, the WILL Claim Notice begins 120 days before a lawsuit against the city is filed.
News 3 Now contacted Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s office to comment on this legal challenge.
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