America First Legal Files Petition to Stop the FCC’s Unlawful Collection of Race and Sex Data of Television and Radio Broadcasters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – America First Legal (AFL), with co-counsel Boyden Gray PLLC, has filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of the National Religious Broadcasters and American Family Association against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its order unlawfully requiring television and radio stations in the United States to publicly report the race, ethnicity, and sex of their employees. 

On February 22, 2024, the FCC announced that it would begin collecting “[d]ata concerning the gender, race, and ethnicity of a broadcast station’s workforce” and make the submissions from each television and radio station publicly available.

The FCC claims that this “data will not be used for the purpose of assessing any aspect of an individual broadcast licensee’s or permittee’s compliance with…nondiscrimination or equal employment opportunity requirements.” However, the FCC never clearly explains what this data collection is for, only making vague allusions to using it “for purposes of analyzing industry trends and making reports to Congress.” 

The real purpose is obvious: to put pressure on broadcasters to institute discriminatory employment practices.

There was significant opposition within the FCC about this decision, with two of the five FCC commissioners strongly dissenting. As Commissioner Brendan Carr explained, the FCC is caving “to the demands of activist groups that have worked for years and across different industries” and that what this means is “the FCC will now post a race and gender scorecard for each and every TV and radio broadcast station in the country…This is no benign disclosure regime. The record makes clear that the FCC is choosing to publish these scorecard[s] for one and only one reason: to ensure that individual businesses are targeted and pressured into making decisions based on race and gender.” 

This egregious decision is just another example of the Biden Administration’s overarching agenda to divide Americans based on their race, ethnicity, and sex, rather than unite them as Americans. 

As Chief Justice Roberts has observed, “[t]he way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Collecting and publicizing statistics about race, ethnicity, and sex to pressure stations to favor certain groups over others only strengthens the forces of disunity and bigotry in our country.

AFL has long fought the Biden Administration for implementing discriminatory programs. In a major victory, President Joe Biden and his allies in Congress formally repealed a racially discriminatory farm loan-forgiveness program after AFL sued to have it declared unconstitutional. In another victory, the Biden Administration dissolved its practice of offering preferential treatment to select racial groups when awarding relief under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, following AFL’s victorious lawsuit.

Today, AFL is proud to represent its clients in taking yet another step to stop the Biden Administration’s discriminatory agenda. 

Statement from Gene Hamilton, America First Legal Executive Director: 

“The old saying ‘if the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail,’ could not be more fitting to describe the Biden Administration’s obsession with dividing Americans based on race and sex. The FCC has no reason to require every broadcaster in the United States to provide this information to the government, and its intentions in doing so are clear. We will fight its unlawful attempt to keep driving wedges between Americans and to subject our clients to illegal governmental mandates,” said Gene Hamilton.

Read the petition for review here.

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