A Texas judge found that the Biden administration discriminates against certain Americans with its rules about the distribution of pandemic relief to restaurants.
The rules: The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill that Congress passed in March. It aims to help restaurants across the U.S. stay afloat after pandemic-related measures caused them to lose substantial revenue.
However, the program, which designates $28.6 billion for restaurant owners, prioritizes applications from businesses owned by women, racial minorities, veterans, and other “socially and economically disadvantaged.” Specifically, the Small Business Administration spends the first 21 days looking only at applicants from these categories before adding others to the pool.
The lawsuit: Philip Greer, a white male restaurant owner, filed a lawsuit against the SBA’s administrator Isabella Guzman, alleging violations of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. He said his restaurant, Greer’s Ranch Café, lost nearly $100,000 in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Small Business Administration lurches America dangerously backward, reversing the clock on American progress, and violating our most sacred and revered principles by actively and invidiously discriminating against American citizens solely based upon their race and sex. This is illegal, it is unconstitutional, it is wrong, and it must stop,” his lawsuit says.
The attorneys for the SBA administrator argued in a response to the motion that Greer “lacks standing” because he hasn’t applied for a grant and that “he has not suffered an injury-in-fact traceable to the priority period.” They also claimed that “race-conscious” prioritization does not violate equal protection rights.
The judge ordered the SBA relief program to temporarily stop prioritizing applicants based on their gender and race.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor found that Greer is “experiencing race and sex discrimination at the hand of government officials.”
“The evidence submitted by plaintiffs indicates that the entire $28.6 billion in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund may be depleted before plaintiffs’ application can be considered for relief under the program,” O’Connor wrote in his 18-page decision, The Epoch Times reported.
“Based on the record, Greer is ‘able and ready’ to apply; he has prepared an application on behalf of his restaurant and is otherwise eligible to receive an RRF grant, but for the allegedly unconstitutional prioritization scheme preventing his application from being processed,” he added.
The judge also instructed Greer to apply for a grant before the May 19 deadline.
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