A conservative law firm plans to file a lawsuit against the city in federal court Wednesday over Madison’s new police civilian oversight board.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty argues that Madison’s decision to reserve seats on the board for Black, Asian, Latinx and Native American people constitutes a racial quota and is unconstitutional.
“Racial quotas and classifications — enshrined in this city law and the official policy of the city — are unconstitutional, offensive, and repugnant to basic American values,” the law firm said in a statement. “The city of Madison has not identified a compelling government interest that would justify racial quotas.”
The 13-member civilian oversight board was created last year in a years-in-the-making decision meant to bring more accountability to the Madison Police Department. In addition to hiring an independent police monitor, the board will conduct an annual review of the police chief and make policy recommendations to police, among other responsibilities. Most recently, the oversight board finalized the job description for the police monitor position.