December 7, 2021

Volume XI, Number 341

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December 06, 2021

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President Biden Repeals Executive Order 13950 Upon Taking Office

Immediately upon taking office on January 20, 2021, President Biden took swift action to overturn the controversial “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” (EO 13950). Executive Order 13950 was issued on September 22, 2020, and sought “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.” Executive Order 13950 prohibited federal contractors from inculcating such views in their diversity and inclusion trainings, among other restrictions. Contractors found in violation of EO 13950 were subject to being canceled, terminated, suspended or declared ineligible for additional government contracts. Therefore, a substantial number of contractors erred on the side of caution and postponed or canceled their training and other diversity initiatives.

EO 13950 was met with immediate class action legal challenges and, on December 22, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction temporarily banning the enforcement of sections 4 and 5. President Biden’s “Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” (Executive Order on Racial Equity) now soundly revokes the entirety of EO 13950 and further requires the heads of agencies to “review and identify proposed and existing agency actions related to or arising from Executive Order 13950.” Notably, within 60 days of the Executive Order, the head of each agency must consider “suspending, revising, or rescinding any such actions, including all agency actions to terminate or restrict contracts or grants pursuant to Executive Order 13950, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.”

The Executive Order on Racial Equity also requires an equity assessment to be conducted by federal agencies. For example, section 5 of the Executive Order on Racial Equity requires the head of each agency to provide a report to the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy (APDP), which includes, but is not limited to, findings regarding potential barriers that underserved communities and individuals may face in taking advantage of agency procurement and contracting opportunities. The report is due within 200 days of the Executive Order.

Section 7 of the Executive Order on Racial Equity also notes that “[g]overnment contracting and procurement opportunities should be available on an equal basis to all eligible providers of goods and services” and requires the head of each agency to produce a plan for addressing “any barriers to full and equal participation” regarding programs, agency procurement and contracting opportunities that are identified in section 5 of the Executive Order on Racial Equity.

© 2021 Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 25
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Jessica Abrahams Government Contracts Lawyer
Partner

Jessica C. Abrahams, chair of the firm’s Government Contracts Team, offers U.S. and international clients comprehensive counsel on issues concerning litigation, compliance, and transactions. Her clients span a variety of industries, from biodefense and health care to information technology, defense products and services, supply chain and infrastructure development. She regularly advises global government contractors, Indian nations, nonprofit organizations and small business owners on contracting best practices and risk mitigation techniques.

A trial lawyer with a...

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Stacie L. Linguist Commercial Litigation & Government Contracts Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath Minneapolis, MN
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Stacie Linguist represents clients in commercial litigation and government contracts matters. Stacie helps clients resolve business disputes, obtain government contracts and respond to government investigations. She has worked with clients in a number of industries, including financial services, insurance, health care, defense and technology.

Litigation and Investigations

Stacie litigates bid protests before the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and state agencies and departments, conducts internal investigations, and responds to Inspector...

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Kristin Jones Pierre Labor & Employment Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath Minneapolis, MN
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Kristin Jones Pierre advises management nationwide on complex workplace matters, including identifying long-term strategies and best practices to reduce employment-related legal risks while meeting business needs. She represents employers of all sizes, including public and private companies, emerging businesses, and nonprofit organizations.

Employment Counseling

Kristin helps employers identify employment obligations, risks and liabilities from hiring practices to termination. Her experience includes advising employers on:

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