CFER Foundation


Legal Advocacy

We take actions in the court of law to defend equality and freedom!


Lawsuit against Discriminatory Housing Assistance Program in San Diego

On March 12, 2024, CFER filed a federal lawsuit against the San Diego Housing Commission, City of San Diego and Housing Authority of the City of San Diego. We are challenging the “City of San Diego First-Time Homebuyer Program for Middle-Income, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Households,” a pilot program launched in 2023 to help first-time, middle-income homebuyers of color to achieve home ownership in San Diego. In early April 2024, the attorney for the Defendants requested a stipulation for an order extending the time to respond to the complaint from April 10, 2024 to May 1st 2024.

See Lawsuit

Californians for Equal Rights Foundation v. City of San Diego et al.

Lawsuit against California agencies on 4 guaranteed-income programs in San Francisco

On May 31, 2023, the American Civil Rights Project (ACR Project), representing CFER and individual San Francisco taxpayers filed a lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, the University of California San Francisco and the California Health and Human Services Agency. Our legal challenge focuses on four unconstitutional guaranteed-income programs that violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the California State Constitution's Equal Protection Guarantee, as well as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On December 2023, we filed an Amended Complaint against California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly and San Francisco. The suit challenges three guaranteed income programs that violate the Constitutions of California and the United States (as well as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act).

Lawsuit against Two Public Contracting Programs in Alameda County

On July 25, 2022, CFER and two individual co-plaintiffs, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), filed a lawsuit challenging two Alameda County public contracting programs that impose race-based preferences for minority- owned enterprises. In January 2023, the trial court issued an unfavorable ruling by granting Defendants' Motion for Judgment holding that the claims we seek are time-barred. PLF attorneys fought back with legal filings demonstrating the merits of our claims at the Court of Appeal. On March 20, 2024, the First Appellate District Court of the State of California ruled in our favor to reverse the trial court's ruling which had time-barred our legal challenge.

Lawsuit on California's Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

On September 3, 2021, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER), along with three San Diego parents, filed a lawsuit against the State of California, the State Board of Education, the State Department of Education, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in his official capacity. The lawsuit challenges the state-approved Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) and particularly the Aztec and Ashe affirmations in the ESMC as a violation of California Constitution's free exercise of religion and no government aid clauses. We are represented by a group of San Diego lawyers affiliated with the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm dedicated to safeguarding freedom of speech, traditional family values and parental rights. On January 14, 2022, we reached a favorable settlement agreement with the State, in which the defendants agreed to promptly remove the two religious chants challenged in our lawsuit, issue a public notice to all California school districts, charter schools and county offices of education and cover the plaintiffs' legal expenses.

Amicus Briefs

Scotus should uphold the rule of law & equal protection

In March 2021, CFER collaborated with the American Civil Rights Project (ACRP) in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, in support of the certiorari petition by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) against racial balancing in Harvard's undergraduate admissions. We urge the high court to correct a past mistake and address race-conscious admissions. In December 2021, the ACR Project represented CFER in a similar amicus brief in support of SFFA's lawsuit against University of North Carolina. In May 2022, we filed an updated amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn Grutter in the upcoming UNC and Harvard cases.

In the most recent brief, CFER asks the Supreme Court to overrule Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)and rule that both schools' race-based policies constitute illegal racial discrimination banned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

One of the many flaws in the Court's reasoning in Grutter v. Bollinger was its unwillingness to strictly scrutinize the University of Michigan Law School's race-preferential admissions policy. Instead, it purported to “defer” to the law school—an admitted discriminator—about whether the need for discrimination was sufficiently compelling. “The well-established doctrine of strict scrutiny requires the Court to demand that discriminators demonstrate that they have a compelling need to discriminate. Deference to the discriminator makes no sense,” said law professor Gail Heriot, the Executive Vice President of CFER. “If the Court was going to defer to anyone, it should have been the American people, who have made it clear over and over again that they do not support race-preferential admissions.

CFER's briefs further stress that, like every credible poll taken over decades, Americans' voting on ballot initiatives has broken overwhelmingly against race-based admissions. Almost every statewide vote has rejected them, including (among others) Washingtonians defeat of Prop. 1000 in 2018 and Californians defeat of Prop. 16 in 2020.

On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court released its ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College, which it bundled with the University of North Carolina (UNC) case, putting an end to race-based affirmative action in college admissions. Framing the decision as one that embraces “the transcendent aims of the Equal Protection Clause,” America’s highest court opines that both Harvard and UNC violated the Fourteenth Amendment by failing to practice strict scrutiny and by employing race as a negative factor.

Civil Rights Complaints

Civil Rights Complaint against the Poway Unified School District

On June 13, 2022, CFER submitted an administrative complaint to Poway Unified School District (PUSD) and the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), regarding the former's discriminatory treatment of a concerned parent. The parent, represented by CFER, was targeted by PUSD administrators for voicing concerns about the district's active engagement with race-based teaching through its implementation of Ethnic Studies courses and its “Racial Equity & Inclusion” programs. While PUSD has refused to launch a thorough investigation and dismissed our complaint without cause, the story was widely reported in the media.

Civil Rights Complaint against CRT-Based Teacher Training in the San Diego Unified School District

In April 2021, CFER led a coalition of five partner organizations in a formal discrimination and civil rights violation complaint against the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) regarding unlawful, discriminatory critical race training of teachers and employees. The Complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), SDUSD and the San Diego County Office of Education. When SDUSD refused to investigate our complaint, CFER sought representation of experienced legal counsel to urge SDUSD to conduct a prompt, thorough and neutral investigation in accordance with existing District policy and state law. In summer 2021, SDUSD conducted an attorney-led investigation but failed to conclude it after CFER refused to disclose the identities of the teachers we represented in the complaint.

See Complaint


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