Nashville Bar Association demands critical race theory training

The Tennessee Supreme Court has received a request from the Nashville Bar Association to include annual training on critical race theory attorneys in that state.


The Tennessee Supreme Court has received a request from the Nashville Bar Association to include annual training on critical race theory for attorneys in that state.

Critical race theory, briefly explained, is the theory that all institutions are racist by definition, and serve to further positions of power and privilege by one race over another.

According to the Tennesssee Star, currently, everyone practicing law in the state of Tennessee is required to undergo a minimum of 15 hours per year of instruction that falls under the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) umbrella.

The Bar Association is asking that two of these 15 hours be required to be on critical race theory. Currently, three of the 15 hours must be related to professional ethics.

"Rooting out systemic racism, gender bias, and all forms of discrimination within the judicial system requires active efforts by all of those involved, including the judiciary and attorneys," they said in their statement.

They went on to say that their request has become even more important "in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmad Arbury [sic], Breonna Taylor and too many others to list herein."

Many people, however, have written letters opposing the proposed changes, calling the measures a "political stunt." One letter claimed that what is needed instead is more training on the Tennessee Constitution.

Tennessee attorney Robert Schoepke told the Star that he is concerned that theories such as critical race theory could lead to two sets of laws and/or two legal standards running concurrently in society, which would "undercut the fabric of democracy."

Schoepke also mentioned that he has heard personally from individual lawyers and judges who want to speak out on the issue, but they are afraid of being accused of racism and the consequences that might ensue.


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