Breaking: Memo Obtained by NR Reveals Transgender ‘Inclusivity’ Training for Federal Courts

You might think it would be obvious that a federal court should not take sides on a divisive social issue that is likely to come before that court. But in the name of "inclusivity" during pride month, the federal courts are doing just that.

National Review has obtained a memorandum sent to federal judges and other employees of the federal-court system recognizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month and promoting a training session for federal employees that will "explore the common misnomers associated with gender, why gender inclusivity is essential, and how to professionally navigate gender identity in the workplace."

At the center of this story is Tiffany D. Blakey, Fair Employment Practices Officer at the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Two years ago, Blakey circulated a "Pride Month" reading list "for both young adult and adult audiences" containing graphic gay sexual material. The official memo from Blakey described these as books "to educate, enlighten and entertain" but also, more ominously, described them as appropriate to be "used as part of a larger fairness in employment program."

A new Blakey memorandum of May 30 of this year, on the official letterhead of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, was sent to the following recipients:

All United States Judges
Circuit Executives
Federal Public/Community Defenders
District Court Executives
Clerks, United States Courts
Chief Probation Officers
Chief Pretrial Services Officers
Senior Staff Attorneys
Circuit Librarians
Chief Circuit Mediators
Bankruptcy Administrators
cc: Directors of Workplace Relations

Any reasonable employee receiving such a communication — especially with that list of recipients — would view this as an official policy directive representing, at a minimum, the formal, considered opinion of the office overseeing court employees. Here's the text:

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month is celebrated each year during the month of June.

In observance of this celebration, the Office of Fair Employment Practices (OFEP) is pleased to host, Gender Inclusivity Made Simple, facilitated by Tiffany Kang, Probation Officer Administrator, Illinois Northern Probation Office. This virtual training will explore the common misnomers associated with gender, why gender inclusivity is essential, and how to professionally navigate gender identity in the workplace in furtherance of the Judiciary's core value of diversity and respect and strategy for ensuring "an exemplary workplace free from discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and abusive conduct."

Employees can choose from two training sessions: Wednesday, June 5 at 1:00 PM (eastern) and Tuesday, June 25 at 1:00 PM (eastern) by accessing this link and indicating a preferred date. Participation is entirely optional, and each court unit may decide whether it wishes to share this opportunity.

What is the Administrative Office of the United States Courts? It's the internal agency charged by Congress with extensive supervisory power over court employees. It has directors removable by the chief justice. The Administrative Office's statutory duties include things such as:

  • Supervise all administrative matters relating to the offices of clerks and other clerical and administrative personnel of the courts. . . .

  • Fix the compensation of clerks of court, deputies, librarians, criers, messengers, law clerks, secretaries, stenographers, clerical assistants, and other employees of the courts whose compensation is not otherwise fixed by law. . . .

  • Make, promulgate, issue, rescind, and amend rules and regulations (including regulations prescribing standards of conduct for Administrative Office employees) as may be necessary to carry out the Director's functions, powers, duties, and authority.

The agency's 2023 annual report noted among its programs:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group in Probation and Pretrial Services

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group for Probation and Pretrial Services staff collected data from field offices to inform future education, recruitment, and retention initiatives. Collaboration efforts were also underway with the Federal Probation and Pretrial Academy to build a DEI curriculum for officer training programs. The working group was created in 2022 to strive for systemic fairness. In August 2023, working group members participated in a panel for the DEI Leadership Conference in Minneapolis.

Blakey describes her job on her LinkedIn profile as follows:

Championing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) efforts, I serve as a senior advisor to government stakeholders on equal opportunity, diversity, inclusion, anti-discrimination, reasonable accommodations, and civil rights. I lead EEO programs and initiatives, including efforts to revamp and staff the DEI Roundtable. Collaborating with HR professionals, we develop and integrate a DEI performance element for all supervisors, assessing organizational compliance with DEI goals.

Before Blakey came to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, she was an employment-discrimination lawyer at the Commerce Department and handled DEI at the Defense Intelligence Agency. The leader of the "gender inclusivity" program, Kang, works in the Northern District of Illinois (i.e., Chicago), where she has been commended by the "Federal Probation Pretrial Officers Association" for "her leading contributions in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion."

We don't expect judges to be monks, cloistered entirely from society. But even if they have strong opinions, judges have to follow rules, and the minimum we expect of them is to understand which of their own opinions are opinions. For a court as an institution to instruct its employees in a particular ideology on one side of a particular hot issue is a scandal. Even moreso when it's not just one courthouse but the entire federal-court system. This is a much, much more serious issue of partiality than whether a Supreme Court justice's wife likes to fly flags that may attract retroactive controversy.

The fundamental, contested question around transgenderism is whether gender is a self-perceived "identity" as opposed to an objective, immutable characteristic. That question implicates all manner of live debates over biology, psychology, medicine, philosophy, history, language, culture, and religious faith. It underlies a vast number of legal disputes that are currently being litigated in federal courts, many of them involving workplaces and schools. Those are questions on which American citizens should have faith that the courts are, at a minimum, willing to treat people on both sides of these questions as having legitimate perspectives, rather than being in need of official reeducation.

We do not know what will be in the training itself, but it is reasonable to infer from its description that it will take a side. The program discussion's language ("common misnomers associated with gender," "gender inclusivity," "gender identity"), combined with situating this program within "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month," sends a signal — one that is unlikely to be lost on recipients of the memo — that this training is likely to take one side of the disputed questions. It communicates that sense of partisanship in how it proposes "educating" the people who staff our federal courts, including the judges themselves. All of this is to be done on federal-taxpayer time and property.

Optional participation doesn't change the official endorsement here, or the choice to host an employee-indoctrination program in what is very much not a public forum. In fact, asking "each court unit" to decide whether to host the training means that those who do choose it are communicating their approval within their own courthouses. Should the courts be flying that flag?

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Memo Obtained by NR Reveals Transgender 'Inclusivity' Training for Federal Courts

The federal judiciary as an institution shouldn't openly take sides on hot-button social debates that come ... READ MORE


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