Federal judge temporarily blocks race-based USDA debt relief program: Report

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden’s administration unveiled a controversial new farming assistance program that excluded white applicants, many of whom are struggling in a post-pandemic era just like any other farmer in America.

However, according to The Blaze, Judge William Griesbach, a federal judge with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, issued a temporary injunction on Thursday blocking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from offering debt forgiveness exclusively to farmers of color.

Race-based USDA program blocked

Judge Griesbach wrote that white farmers, many of whom contested the new program, “are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim” that the USDA’s race-based debt relief program is unconstitutional.

He noted that the farmers allege the “use of race-based criteria in the administration of the program violates their right to equal protection under the law.” Attorney Rick Esenberg, who represents the plaintiffs, was pleased with Griesbach’s ruling.

Esenberg, who also serves as the president of and general counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that there was no justification for the bizarre program, which would have left white farmers struggling based simply on the color of their skin.

“The Court recognized that the federal government’s plan to condition and allocate benefits on the basis of race raises grave constitutional concerns and threatens our clients with irreparable harm,” the attorney said. “The Biden administration is radically undermining bedrock principles of equality under the law.”

The Washington Post explained that the minority-only debt relief program was part of the massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that was passed earlier this year.

USDA doesn’t agree

In response to Esenberg’s ruling, USDA spokesman Matt Herrick released a statement signaling that the federal agency will continue to fight for its racially exclusive debt relief program in place.

“We respectfully disagree with this temporary order and USDA will continue to forcefully defend our ability to carry out this act of Congress and deliver debt relief to socially disadvantaged borrowers,” Herrick said, according to NBC News.

Herrick went on to pledge that his agency would “be prepared to provide the debt relief authorized by Congress” once Esenberg’s temporary order is lifted.

In an earlier piece, The Blaze reported that WILL launched its legal campaign in April by helping white farmers in four states to challenge the USDA’s race-based program. In addition to Wisconsin, other plaintiffs are based in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Ohio.

Biden’s USDA program is yet another example of “woke” politicians desperately attempting to virtue signal at the expense of the livelihoods of thousands of farmers who happen to not have the right skin color. Hopefully, the federal judge’s ruling holds so that all farmers have an equal chance at regaining their footing after surviving the pandemic.

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