DEI in the Executive Branch

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Join us on Tuesday, September 19th, at 12:00 PM ET
for a special lunch panel sponsored by our Civil Rights Practice Group.

Lunch will be served at 12:00 pm with a discussion on DEI initiatives in the Executive Branch to follow.


The Mayflower Hotel
Chinese Room
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
(Farragut North Metro)
Washington, D.C. 

The cost is $20.00 for members and $25.00 for guests.

Register online now as space is limited. We will not be accepting walk-ins or on-site registration for this event.

If you are interested in purchasing a table for the event, please contact Sam Fendler at [email protected] or call 202-810-8686.


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 dependants.

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. 

Featured Speakers:

Veronica Venture
Deputy Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties,
Director of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity,
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Hans von Spakovsky
Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative
Senior Legal Fellow, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies,
The Heritage Foundation

Devon Westhill
President and General Counsel,
Center for Equal Opportunity

Dean Todd Clark
Delaware Law School

[Moderator] Hon. Kenneth L. Marcus
Founder and Chairman,
Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Civil Rights,
U.S. Department of Education


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.