Nashville, TN; November 8, 2023: Today, Do No Harm, an association of medical professionals, filed a federal lawsuit to stop Tennessee’s unlawful consideration of race in appointments to state boards and commissions.

The Tennessee Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners requires one board member to be a racial minority, which has nothing to do with podiatry. A seat reserved for a racial minority opened in June 2023, and despite no shortage of qualified podiatrists in Tennessee, the governor has not made any appointments to the board.

“Tennessee law forces governor after governor to engage in racial discrimination when making appointments to state boards and commissions,” said Laura D’Agostino, an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation. “Using race to make appointments to government boards is not only demeaning and unconstitutional, but it undermines the distinctive spirit of the Volunteer State by precluding opportunities for Tennesseans to serve their local communities.”

Tennessee is far from the only state that uses immutable characteristics to limit opportunities for individuals to serve their state and local communities. A report released by PLF, Public Service Denied, found that 25 states codify such unconstitutional discrimination. Pacific Legal Foundation is working to defeat race and sex quotas in Tennessee and everywhere else the unconstitutional practice is required.

“State medical boards are given important responsibilities to oversee the quality of care in their state and the safety of patients. It is crucial that they be the most qualified physicians available. Like all aspects of healthcare, patient safety and patient concerns should be primary, not the skin color or the racial makeup of any oversight committee,” Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, board chair of Do No Harm.

The case is Do No Harm v. William Lee and was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.


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About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 18 wins of 20 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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