Biden Administration Sought to Use Race to Determine Federal Benefits. Courts Have Now Stepped In.

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Posted: Jun 01, 2021 7:45 AM
Biden Administration Sought to Use Race to Determine Federal Benefits. Courts Have Now Stepped In.

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Biden administration is facing a legal challenge over the Small Business Association’s prioritization of women and racial minorities for COVID-19 relief. The SBA said only these applications for restaurant relief would be processed in the first three weeks, kicking white, male small business owners to the back of the line.

America First Legal, which represents restaurant owners Jason and Janice Smith and Eric Nyman, said despite qualifying for relief, their clients are “experiencing race and sex discrimination at the hand of government officials.”

The court agreed. 

"A federal judge in Texas ruled that the SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund was wrong to distribute $28.6 billion in Covid-19 relief on the basis of an owner’s sex and race," reports The Wall Street Journal.

And that wasn't the only case against the SBA.

Meanwhile, in Vitolo v. Guzman the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction against the SBA on behalf of white plaintiff Antonio Vitolo, half-owner of Jake’s Bar and Grill in Tennessee. The other half is owned by his wife, a Latina. In a 2-1 decision joined by Judge Alan Norris, Judge Amul Thapar cites Supreme Court precedents such as Adarand and Richmond v. Croson to eviscerate the SBA’s discriminatory logic.

The SBA justifies its bias as necessary to remedy past societal discrimination. But Judge Thapar notes that the Supreme Court has said such a remedy is only justified under narrow circumstances. It must address a specific episode of past discrimination, the past discrimination must have been intentional, and the government must have played a role in that discrimination. Judge Thapar writes that the SBA fails all three tests. (The Wall Street Journal)

The WSJ goes on to describe Thapar's legal analysis as an "arrow to the heart of much of the Biden Administration’s racially divisive agenda," perhaps leading this and other similar cases to the Supreme Court.