Judge Orders Halt To COVID Relief For Ranchers Based On Race
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order halting President Joe Biden’s $4 billion loan forgiveness program for only minority farmers and ranchers. The judge pointed out that the plan excluded some farmers based on race. White people need not apply.
“The obvious response to a government agency that claims it continues to discriminate against farmers because of their race or national origin is to direct it to stop: it is not to direct it to intentionally discriminate against others on the basis of their race and national origin,” Griesbach wrote. (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported)
“Indeed, Congress can implement race-neutral programs to help farmers and ranchers in need of financial assistance, such as requiring individual determinations of disadvantaged status or giving priority to loans of farmers and ranchers that were left out of the previous pandemic relief funding,” Griesbach wrote. “It can also provide better outreach, education, and other resources. But it cannot discriminate on the basis of race.”
Leisl Carpenter, a Wyoming rancher, is suing the Biden Administration and the Department of Agriculture for race discrimination under the US Constitution.
The lawsuit is in response to a “Rescue Plan”, which is meant to be a loan forgiveness program, but the program explicitly bars participation by white people.
Carpenter, is 29-year-old and inherited a ranch near Laramie. She is represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation and the Southeastern Legal Foundation. In the suit, she says that she wants to be treated fairly and not discriminated against due to her race.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on the lawsuit:
The group is representing 12 farmers, two of whom live in Wisconsin. Calumet County dairy farmer Adam Faust, who farms with both legs amputated after being born with spina bifida, and Christopher Baird, who owns a dairy farm near Ferryville in Crawford County.
“There should absolutely be no federal dollars going anywhere just based on race,” Faust said.
“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,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel for Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL). “The Biden administration is radically undermining bedrock principles of equality under the law.”
The Sentinel reported the USDA is still implementing the program despite the judge's order.
”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,” a USDA spokesperson said. ”When the temporary order is lifted, USDA will be prepared to provide the debt relief authorized by Congress.”