The Biden administration’s so-called “equity agenda” suffered a major defeat in federal court recently. In a lawsuit challenging the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) — a new federal agency dedicated to helping only certain preferred racial groups — a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration cannot discriminate based on race.
Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump-appointee based in Fort Worth, Texas, delivered a remedial lesson in civics to the administration: “The Constitution demands equal treatment under law.”
While such a statement should be obvious to any American, this was quite a painful blow to the administration. On his first day in office, President Biden declared a “whole of government” approach to racial equity, requiring all his agencies to “affirmatively advance[e] equity.” In practice, the equity agenda resulted in a bevy of programs open to some races, but not others. Farmers, restaurant owners, homeowners, small business owners and federal contractors all got billions in federal tax dollars, so long as they belonged to certain racial groups.
President Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The MBDA is the cornerstone of this equity agenda. Created as a permanent federal agency as part of the Infrastructure Act in November 2021, the MBDA is designed to help certain minority business owners with grants, training, consulting, government contracts and other benefits to juice up their bottom lines. As Under Secretary of Commerce Donald Cravins said, “If you are a minority entrepreneur, MBDA is your agency.”
The federal government’s ridiculous attempts at racial line-drawing — for example, including Pakistani Americans but excluding Afghani Americans — is just a symptom of the underlying disease. As Chief Justice John Roberts once wrote, “divvying us up by race” is a “sordid business.”
Enter Greg Nuziard, Christian Bruckner and Matt Piper. These three White small business owners from Texas, Florida and Wisconsin, sued the Biden administration, alleging that the MBDA is an unconstitutional agency. Represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, where I serve as deputy counsel, all three men attempted to get help from the MBDA but couldn’t because of the color of their skin.
In an email from the MBDA Office in Orlando, Florida, the MBDA told Christian Bruckner that because he was White, they couldn’t help him, but they would be happy to “refer you to our strategic partner… for assistance.” Separate but equal, literally.
According to systemic racism theory, salvation comes through “equity,” which is nothing more than reverse discrimination, promising to make sure “we all end up at the same place,” as Kamala Harris famously tweeted in 2020.
Judge Pittman was not persuaded. In ruling against the Biden administration, he explained that the Constitution forbids race discrimination, and that the government cannot justify a racial preference merely by pointing to statistical disparities. Allowing this type of justification for a race-based program would give “governments license to create a patchwork of racial preferences based on statistical generalizations about any particular field of endeavor.”
Yet that’s exactly the goal of the equity agenda: racial preferences for preferred races.
If past is prologue, the administration won’t stop discriminating until it is forced to stop by a court.