The Biden administration has sought to racialize the COVID-19 pandemic response, including a restaurant aid program within the American Rescue Plan. A judge just ruled that isn’t going to fly.
The ruling comes by way of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case Antonio Vittolo vs. Isabella Casillas Guzman. Guzman’s lawsuit argued that white men are being ‘pushed to the back of the line’ for aid in the coronavirus relief program. The lawsuit was directed at U.S. Small Business Association Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman by Antonio Vitolo, who is the owner of Jake’s Bar and Grill in Harriman, Tennessee. A majority 2-1 decision found that Biden’s race-based litmus test for aid is not legal.
#BREAKING WOAH‼️6th circuit rules 2-1 against the Biden American Rescue Plan stating that the formula to award relief funds to restaurants is racist and therefore unconstitutional.
— Tim Swain (@SwainForSenate) May 27, 2021
“This case is about whether the government can allocate limited coronavirus relief funds based on the race and sex of the applicants,” Judge Thapar ruled. “We hold that it cannot.”
“The Small Business Administration has injected explicit racial and ethnic preferences into the priority process,” the ruling continued. “Under a regulation that predates the pandemic, the agency presumes certain applicants are socially disadvantaged based solely on their race or ethnicity. Groups that presumptively qualify as socially disadvantaged—and thus get to jump to the front of the line for priority consideration—include ‘Black Americans,’ ‘Hispanic Americans,’ ‘Asian Pacific Americans,’ ‘Native Americans,’ and ‘Subcontinent Asian Americans.’ If you are in one of these groups, the Small Business Administration assumes you qualify as socially disadvantaged. Indeed, the only way not to qualify is if someone comes forward ‘with credible evidence to the contrary’.”
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As the SBA’s funding proceeded past the initial emergency funding phase, it continued to implement racial and sexual bias in its decisions.
“There is an obvious solution to this of course: The agency can simply fund grants in the order they were received—without regard to priority status, and without regard to the processing head start that many applications received on the basis of race and sex,” the ruling noted.
Remarkably, Judge Thapar held that “the government offers little evidence of past intentional discrimination against the many groups to whom it grants preferences. Indeed, the schedule of racial preferences detailed in the government’s regulation—preferences for Pakistanis but not Afghans; Japanese but not Iraqis; Hispanics but not Middle Easterners—is not supported by any record evidence at all.”
Judge Thapar’s conclusion is particularly stinging.
“It has been twenty-five years since the Supreme Court struck down the race-conscious policies in Adarand. And it has been nearly twenty years since the Supreme Court struck down the racial preferences in Gratz. As today’s case shows once again, the ‘way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.'”
The remedy in the case is as follows.
“The government shall fund the plaintiffs’ grant application, if approved, before all later-filed applications, without regard to processing time or the applicants’ race or sex,” the ruling held. “The government, however, may continue to give veteran-owned restaurants priority in accordance with the law. This preliminary injunction shall remain in place until this case is resolved on the merits and all appeals are exhausted.”
This case could potentially be appealed to the Supreme Court, but it is unclear if there is ample basis for it to be accepted onto the docket. It could be a decisive blow to Biden’s relief package, which violates equal protection law on its face.
“The suit comes after the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act established the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund – which the SBA said ‘would only process and fund priority group applications’ from May 3 to May 24,” the Daily Mail earlier reported.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.