Renaming Columbus Day Into Indigenous People’s Day Doesn’t Violate the Constitution

This was Judge C. Darnell Jones II’s position yesterday. Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, Inc. (E.D. Pa.). He found that plaintiffs did not have the standing to amend such a declaration by government.

Just because a plaintiff disagrees with the Government’s actions, however, does not equate to discriminatory treatment…. Plaintiffs fail to identify any discriminatory impact they have personally experienced from Executive Order 2-21…. Plaintiffs don’t explain to this Court, nor do they see, any discriminatory impact that Executive Order 2-21 has had on them.

He said that government speech like this doesn’t infringe the Equal Protection Clause.

Executive Order 2-21, which is considered government speech, means that Plaintiffs can’t bring any Equal Protection violations, even if they are standing. According to the Third Circuit,[t]”The Equal Protection Clause is not applicable to government speech.” Fields v. The Speaker of Pennsylvania H.R. (3d Cir. 2019). It is simply because the “private citizens don’t have any interest in government speech upon which they can base an equal protection claim.”

Then he said:

Plaintiffs fail to disclose any discriminatory effects they personally have suffered from Columbus Day’s renaming. It was already explained that Plaintiffs cannot claim they were prevented from celebrating Christopher Columbus’s Italian American heritage by the renaming. However, the holidays can be referred to as Columbus Day by Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs assert that the Columbus Day renaming by defendants is a way to remove recognition from Italian Americans and instead recognize Indigenous Peoples. However, Plaintiffs fail to mention any discriminatory effects that support this claim. The Court is not provided with details by Plaintiffs about the impact of Columbus Day’s renaming on their lives. Any Equal Protection claim is null without such evidence.

It is legally valid, I believe, and completely unsurprising, regardless of one’s view of its merits.