Texas-based federal judge blocks discriminatory USDA loan forgiveness program

There were a few provisions within President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief bill, dubbed the “American Rescue Plan,” that have been challenged in court as being explicitly racist, such as loan forgiveness offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) exclusively to minority farmers from historically “socially disadvantaged” groups.

A federal judge in Texas just issued a preliminary injunction blocking Biden’s USDA loan forgiveness program from implementation due to its discriminatory nature, in which it deliberately excluded white farmers and ranchers, the Washington Examiner reported.

The ruling follows a similar order in June from a federal judge in Wisconsin who blocked the seemingly racist USDA loan forgiveness program from moving forward.

Judge issues injunction

In his 24-page ruling, District Judge Reed O’Connor granted class-action status on the lawsuit for all white farmers and ranchers deemed ineligible to participate in the USDA program due to their immutable racial characteristics.

In also granting the preliminary injunction, the judge noted that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in their argument that the USDA loan forgiveness program violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection guarantee and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Judge O’Conner wrote: “This prohibition encompasses: (a) considering or using an applicant Class Member’s race or ethnicity as a criterion in determining whether that applicant will obtain loan assistance, forgiveness, or payments; and (b) considering or using any criterion that is intended to serve as a proxy for race or ethnicity in determining whether an applicant Class Member will obtain loan assistance, forgiveness, or payments.”

Administration defends program

The Examiner noted that both the White House and USDA failed to respond to requests for comment on the ruling, but pointed out that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had previously defended the undeniably discriminatory program as being justified due to past instances of racial discrimination against minorities in American history.

Successful Farming reported in June that Vilsack, in response to the Wisconsin judge’s ruling in favor of excluded white farmers, had quipped, “It’s a wonder where those farmers were over the last 100 years, when their Black counterparts were being discriminated against and didn’t hear a peep from white farmers about how unfortunate that circumstance was.”

“Now we are having white farmers stepping up and asking why they’re not included in this program,” Vilsack said. “Well, it’s pretty clear why they’re not included — because they’ve had the access of all the programs for the last 100 years… It’s important, I think, for us to acknowledge the cumulative effect of discrimination, and this is one way that Congress is directing us to do that.”

“Equal justice under law”

That explanation doesn’t fly with Stephen Miller, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump who now heads the America First Legal foundation — a firm that represented the white Texas farmers and ranchers. He told the Examiner: “The notion that the proper way to remedy past injustice is future injustice is one of the greatest logical fallacies I can possibly imagine.”

“That is, in fact, totally contrary to the American ideal of justice,” Miller continued. “That something was done wrong in the past and so we’ll make up for it by doing something wrong today is just completely alien to our whole constitutional system.”

“Equal justice under law, the idea that no man and no woman is to be treated any differently, regardless of their station in life, their ethnicity, their race, their wealth, which part of the country they live in, who they know, you name it, everyone is equal,” Miller added. “It is the defining feature of law that has been refined for centuries, before our country was even born.”

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