From the New York Times news section:
No part of President Biden’s agenda has been as ambitious as his attempt to place concerns about equity squarely at the center of the federal government’s decision-making.
By Michael D. Shear, Stacy Cowley and Alan Rappeport
June 26, 2021
WASHINGTON — Since taking office 157 days ago, President Biden has promised to put racial equity at the center of everything he does, pledging in an executive order on Day 1 to take a “systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making” as he drafts legislation, hires staff, proposes spending and develops regulations.
But his efforts — which could radically realign the distribution of federal money and benefits in favor of people of color and other underserved communities — are running into legal and political obstacles.
In late May, Syovata Edari, the owner of CocoVaa Chocolatier in Madison, Wis., was told she would receive $50,000 from Mr. Biden’s government, courtesy of the president’s efforts to ensure that pandemic relief aid for struggling restaurants and food businesses would be distributed equitably.
I.e., “equitably” meaning Blacks First.
But three weeks later, she instead received an email that broke the bad news: The award had been rescinded thanks to a lawsuit filed on behalf of white restaurant owners that successfully challenged the program’s policy of prioritizing applications from women and people of color. The check she was counting on would not arrive.
“It doesn’t surprise me that once again these laws that we fought and died for, that were intended to benefit us — to even the playing field a bit more — are being used against us,” Ms. Edari, who is Black, said, referring to the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
I mean, sure, the 14th Amendment sounds like the part about “the equal protection of the laws” applies to everybody, but we all know that it’s good for the government to discriminate against whites.
… No part of Mr. Biden’s agenda has been as ambitious as his attempt to embrace racial considerations when making decisions. It pushes against limits set by the Supreme Court, which say programs based on race must be “narrowly tailored” to accomplish a “compelling governmental interest.” And it ignites passions at a time when Democrats hold the narrowest majority in Congress and the country is already seething with disagreements about race, power and fairness.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Florida echoed a court ruling in Wisconsin by ordering a halt to an Agriculture Department program to forgive the debts of Black and other minority farmers after years of discrimination. The judge wrote that Congress must “heed its obligation to do away with governmentally imposed discrimination based on race.”
The small-business program that prioritized people like Ms. Edari was forced to change its rules last month after challenges by white Americans who say the policy is racist. And around the country, Republicans are promising to tie the president’s equity efforts to a broader culture war during the 2022 midterm elections, arguing that Mr. Biden is doing the bidding of liberal activists who believe that all white people are racist.
On Capitol Hill, the $1.9 trillion relief package Mr. Biden pushed through in March, known as the American Rescue Plan, included money for health care, child care and poverty programs that disproportionately benefit minority groups, underserved communities and women.
The president’s initial proposal for vast spending on infrastructure would have gone even further, reversing racial disparities in how the government builds, repairs and locates a wide range of physical projects, including a $20 billion plan to “reconnect” communities of color to economic opportunity. But an emerging bipartisan deal on infrastructure does not include $400 billion for home health aides, a program that benefits many women of color. And it is uncertain whether it will embrace some of Mr. Biden’s other race-conscious proposals.
The challenges to Mr. Biden’s proposals have so far halted only a small fraction of his broader equity agenda, which has already ensured that billions of dollars in government spending have reached African Americans and poor women. Some of the president’s programs, like the child tax credit, are less vulnerable to legal challenges because they are technically race-neutral even as they disproportionately benefit people of color.
OK, they just said some of Biden’s plans only commit disparate impact racial discrimination, while others are overtly discriminatory against whites.
I know that these days we are supposed to obsess over pronouns like he, she, and they, but in 2021 the only pronouns that really matter are who and whom.
Administration officials say the court rulings and political opposition are merely speed bumps that will do little to block progress. And they say Mr. Biden will continue to fight for parts of his legislative agenda that are not in a compromise bill.
… But the resistance to Mr. Biden’s pledge to make equity “the business of the whole of government” is an early warning sign of more to come.
The fight over how much the government and other institutions can consider race when making decisions has intensified in recent years, with conservative activists making a concerted legal push for rulings by a more right-leaning Supreme Court in areas as varied as university admissions, government contracting and voting rights.
If white people trying in the courts to get the White House to stop discriminating against them isn’t White Supremacy, I don’t know what is.
Now, the president’s critics, including Republican lawmakers and conservative activists, are lining up other court challenges and are vowing to push back against what they say is blatant discrimination by the government against its citizens.
… Conservative lawyers are still combing through the relief legislation for other provisions that could be ripe for lawsuits because they tie economic aid to race, according to Rick M. Esenberg, the president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, which is representing about a dozen white farmers who filed the lawsuit.
Mr. Esenberg said he did not expect the farmers’ program to move forward as is because it violated the right to equal protection under the law.
“It’s very difficult to construct an argument that this program could possibly be constitutional,” he said.
… Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen assigned her deputy secretary, Wally Adeyemo, to develop a civil rights strategy for the department this year.
After all, Wally Adeyemo must know all about the horrors of American slavery and Jim Crow because he’s clearly descended from a long line of African-Americans.
… The Justice Department argued in a court filing that the government “has a compelling interest in remedying the effects of past and present discrimination.”
But a federal judge in Texas and a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit objected and said the relief program’s approach was too blunt and ran afoul of the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.
In response to the court rulings, the Small Business Administration, which runs the relief program, abandoned its prioritization plan in late May. By then, most of the money had already been distributed: Around 72,000 women- and minority-led businesses received $18 billion, more than 60 percent of the relief fund’s money, before the court injunctions took effect.
John W. Boyd Jr., the president of the nonprofit National Black Farmers Association, said officials dragged their feet getting the money out the door, he said, allowing time for lawsuits to be filed.
If only the Biden Administration had been faster at trampling on the Constitution, I’d have gotten that money and spent it all long before the courts could rule.