Judge Reed O’Connor found that the Biden administration engaged in systemic gender and race discrimination to implement COVID-19 relief for American restaurants.
Café owner Philip Greer sued the Small Business Administration (SBA) claiming They discriminated against him because he is white. He said he needs the same rescue as minority restaurateurs under the newly enacted American Rescue Plan Act.
Greer’s Ranch Café reportedly lost over $100,000 during the pandemic. Like many restaurateurs, Greer was thrilled to hear about the Restaurant Restoration Fund approved by Congress.
However, he soon learned that, due to his race, he could not be considered until other applicants were allowed to seek funds. The White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress insisted that various groups should be first in line, including women, minorities, and “socially and economically disadvantaged” people.
The government confirmed that $2.7 billion already has been distributed through the fund and that there are almost 150,000 pending applications from owners with preferential treatment.
As a result, owners like Greer fear not just delayed payments but the exhaustion of the $28.6 billion allocated under the program.
The SBA confirms it already has requests for $65 billion in payments under the fund.
The Biden administration agreed that such classifications, particularly based on race, must satisfy the highest constitutional burden of “strict scrutiny.” That means such classifications are unconstitutional unless they are “narrowly tailored” to serve a “compelling governmental interest.”
However, the Justice Department cited studies that women and minorities historically have fewer lender resources and, before the pandemic, often were less likely to receive credit. There is ample support for that claim.
The legal question is whether historical disparities are enough to justify a system of race and gender preferences/discrimination when all restaurants were impacted by the pandemic.
Judge O’Connor relied on such precedent to declare the enforcement of the criteria for COVID-19 relief to be raw racial and gender discrimination.
His ruling can be appealed, but it highlights deep concerns over a variety of state and federal COVID-19 programs enforcing racial and gender criteria.
While legislative counsel and some legal experts raised concerns over the constitutionality of the law, a trial court rejected the challenge. There are other cases like it that are challenging this form of discrimination.
Courts have allowed minority set-asides to remedy past inequities. Such programs often are created solely for that purpose and, thus, are treated as a remedial benefit for a targeted group, as opposed to an exclusionary denial for other groups.
The court’s concern in the Greer case is that the Biden administration’s rationale would allow the use of racially discriminatory policies throughout the government.
In other words, Democrats are imposing systematic racism.
Rather than impose a quota system or a direct exclusionary policy, Greer and others complain that the government can achieve the same result by prioritizing certain groups in the receipt of benefits.
The alternative is to maintain a bright line against the use of racial criteria in government programs.
In a 2007 case, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that position most succinctly by declaring that the “way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
Under the American Rescue Plan, anyone can qualify for preferential treatment if they claim to be part of a group that has “been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society.” It is the legislative version of the special graduation held at the University of Portland for “QTBIPOC (LGBTQIA and/or BIPOC).” Once the inclusions were defined, the only major exclusion was straight white males.
Indeed, the same logic was used in other programs like the special COVID-19 relief funds for black farmers.
The courts must resolve to draw the line. Racial discrimination is the antithesis of what our country is about, but that is where this administration is going, not only in this case but also in the case of Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project. CRT and 1619 are being infused in government, schools, the military, and in Hollywood.
Biden was backed by segregationists in the day. That is how he got into the Senate — with the backing of the Dixiecrats. Now he’s happy to do the same to straight white males.