Judge orders Minority Business Development Agency to desist from racial discrimination

 March 7, 2024

A federal judge has just thrown a wrench into President Biden's efforts to steer government contracts and other benefits to minority businesses. 

Judge Mark T. Pittman of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas, a Trump appointee, ruled that the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) illegally discriminated against three white business owners who sought the agency's services.

Setback for Biden's "equity" agenda

Biden has made the agency, which helps minority business owners gain access to capital and contracts, an important part of his controversial "equity" agenda.

The agency was established by President Nixon in 1969, but President Biden made it a permanent agency and expanded its budget.

In a 93-page ruling, Judge Pittman ruled that the MBDA engages in unconstitutional discrimination based on race.

The three white business owners who sued the administration "all worked hard to get where they are, they all overcame obstacles in pursuit of the American Dream, they all care deeply for their businesses, and they all wanted—but couldn’t obtain—assistance from the same federal program."

"They’re also all white, a salient detail in this case," Pittman wrote.

The judge noted that the agency's mission statement of helping "all American businesses" is belied by its policy of excluding certain applicants based on their race.

"Today the clock runs out"

By forcing disfavored racial groups to overcome a presumption that they are not disadvantaged, the MBDA violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection, Pittman said.

"While the Agency’s work may help alleviate opportunity gaps faced by MBEs, two wrongs do not make a right. And the MBDA’s racial presumption is a wrong," he wrote.

Pittman declared the agency's 55 years of discriminatory policy "fifty-five years too many," adding, "Today the clock runs out."

The judge's ruling is a blow to Biden's agenda of using race to award financial aid, federal contracts, and other benefits, a system Democrats call "equity." Critics of "equity" have often contrasted it with equality of opportunity.

Dan Lennington of the Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty, which filed the challenge, hailed Pittman's ruling as a "historic victory for equality."

"No longer can a federal agency cater only to certain races and not others. The MBDA is now open to all Americans," he said.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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