Skip to main content
Global (EN)
Global (EN)中文FrancaisعربيDeutsch日本語

Affirmative Reaction

Affirmative Reaction

The U.S. Supreme Court is widely expected to ban or further roll back affirmative action at the end of its term in June, a decision that could prohibit any consideration of race in college admissions. The outcome could have effects well beyond campuses, as many employers use hiring practices in the workplace similar to college admissions – considering race as part of the goal of creating a more diverse culture.

In anticipation of the ruling, FGS Global developed guidance outlining how to assess the landscape ahead of the June decision and craft communications in preparation for the result.

Some key takeaways include:

  • Create a working group – Include representatives from communications, legal, HR and key stakeholder groups and, ideally, diverse voices representing potentially impacted communities.

  • Be thoughtful about your tone – Critics are attuned to corporate jargon, and stakeholders recognize when you’re just following the crowd.

  • Put actions behind your content – Speak from your established value, but communicating allyship without meaningful action will be criticized as performative.

  • Consider the right spokesperson – If you’re going to publicly comment, think carefully about who the best voice is to communicate your updates.

  • Listen closely, and be ready – While the ruling will reverberate over the long-run, expect to be asked questions the moment the decision arrives.

If you are interested in receiving the full memo, contact

By the Numbers

Quid Pro Crow?

The Supreme Court has faced mounting ethical questions and loss of public faithin recent months—but don’t expect Washington to do anything about it. 

Media investigations have revealed anti-abortion activists had a secret campaign to influence justices and that Justice Clarence Thomas has for years accepted luxury trips and failed to report the sale of property to a wealthy Republican donor. 

Yet the Supreme Court is not bound by the same guidelines as the executive or legislative branches or even other parts of the judiciary, which just last month revised its regulations to clarify stays at commercial properties and travel by private jet must be reported. A complaint signed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and former chief White House ethics lawyers Norm Eisen and Richard Painter alleges Thomas’ real estate deal violates the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, but there are no indications he will face any repercussions.  

It seems unlikely the Supreme Court will cede oversight to another body. With a divided Congress, proposed bills to require justices to adopt a code of ethics are unlikely to pass. And a majority in the House and a supermajority of the Senate are unlikely to coalesce around articles of impeachment for an individual justice, something that has not happened since 1805. As the New York Times editorial boardsuggested last week, the problem of influence peddling – or at least the perception of such – seems to be an intractable issue with a long and bipartisan history.

Abortion Contortions

The fight over mifepristone, one of two pills typically used in combination to terminate a pregnancy, has reached a fever pitch with a Texas District Judge’ssuspension of FDA approval of abortion medication mifepristone. 

The Justice Department moved quickly to appeal the Texas decision last week, requesting an emergency stay. On Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to allow partial access to mifepristone while the case is being appealed while also introducing limitations on how the drug can be dispensed, including prohibiting mail delivery and restricting the use of the pill to the first seven weeks of pregnancy. 

In response, the DOJ on Friday asked the Supreme Court to preserve full access to the drug and pause court-ordered restrictions that are set to take effect. The administration suggested the court could alternatively grant review and hear arguments on an expedited basis. Danco Laboratories LLC, the drug’s primary maker, filed a similar request with the court earlier in the day. 

In response to both filings, Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe, temporarily froze District Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling Friday afternoon, preserving access to mifepristone for five days to allow the Supreme Court time to review the administration and Danco’s emergency appeals.

On Thursday, District Judge Tom Rice in Washington state doubled down on his ruling asserting mifepristone must remain available in 17 states and the District of Columbia. In the most recent ruling, he found the FDA cannot roll back access to the abortion pill in 18 jurisdictions, regardless of conflicting orders issued in other federal courts, and said that the Biden administration "must" follow his order. 

With the future of mifepristone far from certain, Vice President Kamala Harris convened a meeting of the Task Force on Reproductive Health Access on Wednesday to strongly condemn the federal appeals court ruling and announcedseveral new initiatives to support abortion access.

April 18, 2023
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
Want to see more of this in your inbox?