Today's Paper State News LEARNS Guide Newsletters Opinion Sports Obits Games Archive Notices Core Values

Socialists’ social engineering must end

by Robert Steinbuch | March 26, 2023 at 1:55 a.m.
Robert Steinbuch

The time of smoke-filled back-room deals that undermine the will of the people has yet to come to an end.

Take current attempts to thwart Arkansans' yearning to eliminate the scourge of race-and-gender quotas, set-asides, and preferences denominated as affirmative action. After SB71, the bill to end state-sponsored discrimination in Arkansas, passed a Senate committee and floor vote, it was sent to the House. Once there, it went to the State Agencies Committee.

Typically, the committee--in consultation with the bill's sponsors--either puts the bill on the active or the deferred list. (The former means the bill runs immediately. The latter briefly delays the vote.)

That's not what occurred with SB71. A third option that is almost never seen was quietly invoked. After the chair put the bill on the deferred list, a committee member moved to "table" the bill--a way to kill legislation in darkness.

Specifically, when the most conservative proposal in the Legislature today came before the committee (while the bill's House sponsor was momentarily out of the room), Rep. Jeff Wardlaw (a member of House leadership) repeatedly mouthed "table" to another representative in order to orchestrate the procedural entombing of the legislation. (I've reposted the video clip on my Facebook page today.)

It would be tragic for such cartoonish Tammany Hall political machinations to occur at any time, but for it to take place during the inaugural months of the state's first populist conservative governor who stands to make Arkansas a model for the nation is obscene.

Why would Wardlaw try to kill a bill to end state-sponsored discrimination?

Wardlaw was elected in 2010 as a Democrat and switched parties six years later when the red wave engulfed Arkansas.

Two years ago, conservative Conduit for Action still ranked Wardlaw a dismal 66 out of 100 for economic freedom--and even worse, 69th on Conduit's social-freedom score.

Arkansas may have a conservative Legislature, but Wardlaw isn't its face.

Actions like Wardlaw's demonstrate that not all Republicans are working to make Arkansas the most conservative state in America.

Some are throwing nails on the highway of progress for political expediency.

How else do you explain that nine other states--from blue to red--have already prohibited this insidious prejudice (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington), while Arkansas still has not?

There is good news, however. When the bill's House sponsor, conservative icon Justin Gonzalez, got wind of Wardlaw's attempt to kill the bill, Gonzalez jumped into action.

At the next State Agencies Committee meeting, he shined light on the surreptitious silencing of the people's will.

He and fellow conservatives on the committee resurrected the bill. God bless them all for their willingness to stand up for true conservative principles.

Gonzalez is not going to back down, because he fights for hardworking Arkansans of all stripes who are fed up with quotas, set-asides, and preferences, the political class' crypto-currency used to barter away our rights and freedoms in exchange for their self-aggrandizement.

SB71 is simple. Preferences based on pigment and plumbing will be prohibited. As Attorney General Tim Griffin said, "This bill will bring our state in line with constitutional principles that I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to reiterate soon" in a lawsuit involving racial-admissions preferences at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. (Griffin recently sued in federal court to end "race-based restrictions" on student transfers within a local school district.)

Whichever way the Supreme Court rules on the application of affirmative action at two East Coast colleges, that won't upend race-and-gender quotas, set-asides, and preferences in Arkansas.

That's not how court decisions work. That's why even the most conservative Supreme Court opinion possible will not end affirmative action in Arkansas. Only SB71 can do that.

U.S. Appellate Judge Jim Ho recently wrote: "The difference between securing equality of opportunity regardless of race [versus] guaranteeing equality of outcome based on race ...[is] the difference between color blindness and critical race theory [CRT]."

Arkansas' current legal environment enshrining affirmative action is the state's sad endorsement of critical race theory over the will of Arkansans who have been abundantly clear that we reject governmental discrimination, including CRT. It's time to excise this structural racism root.

The country is watching to see whether Arkansas can be the conservative beacon on the hill we need.

If Republicans in the Arkansas Legislature cannot rise to this occasion and eliminate the scourge of race-and-gender quotas, set-asides, and preferences at this time, we never will--and Arkansas will be forever forgotten as the conservative movement passes us by.

Let's make conservatism the national identity for Arkansas.

Call your elected officials and tell them to end socialists' social engineering known as affirmative action in Arkansas. Only SB71 can do that.

This is your right to know.

Robert Steinbuch, professor of law at the Bowen Law School, is a Fulbright Scholar and author of the treatise "The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act." His views do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.

Print Headline: Socialists’ social engineering must end


Sponsor Content