President Joe Biden is facing an embarrassing and growing problem as he continues to declare his focus on ending racial discrimination: another federal court appears close to ruling that his Administration is engaging in raw racial discrimination. Milwaukee District Judge William Griesbach issued a temporary restraining order in Wisconsin halting Biden’s controversial $4 billion race-based federal relief program for farmers. The awarding of relief based on race immediately raised objections of racial discrimination. The ruling is based on the court’s view that the white farmers challenging the program are likely to prevail.
The order was made in favor of twelve plaintiffs from nine different states who sued the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency to enjoin the Biden Administration from implementing a loan-forgiveness program for farmers and ranchers under Section 1005 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The program pays up to 120% of direct or guaranteed farm loan balances for Black, American Indian, Hispanic, Asian American or Pacific Islander farmers.
As part of the ARPA, Congress appropriated “such sums as may be necessary” to pay for the cost of loan modifications and payments to “socially disadvantaged” farmers and ranchers. § 1005(a)(1). The term “socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher” is defined under 7 U.S.C. § 2279(a). § 1005(b)(3) as a farmer or rancher who is a member of a “socially disadvantaged group.” § 2279(a)(5).
“Socially disadvantaged group” is then defined as “a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.” § 2279(a)(6).
The Biden Administration defines “socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher” to include individuals “who are one or more of the following: Black/African American, American Indian, Alaskan native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, or Pacific Islander.” American Rescue Plan Debt Payments, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, available at https://www.farmers.gov /americanrescueplan (last visited June 7, 2021).
The Court found that the program was unambiguously discriminatory since “the only consideration in determining whether a farmer or rancher’s loans should be completely forgiven is the person’s race or national origin.” As such, “Plaintiffs are excluded from the program based on their race and are thus experiencing discrimination at the hands of their government.” Read more…