In defiance of both US and constitutional law, the Biden administration persisted with illegal racial biases, which resulted in practically total exclusion of white farmers from any COVID-19 debt relief.
A series of three state court decisions early this year found that the Obama administration’s choices for particular schools were “racially discriminatory.” Federal judges in Florida, Tennessee, and Wisconsin all blocked the administration’s proposed rule after lawsuits were filed arguing that it discriminated against certain groups.
When U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard examined the government’s practices in Florida, she found that they were implemented in a discriminatory manner.
“Congress also must heed its obligation to do away with governmentally imposed discrimination based on race,” Howard wrote, adding that “it appears that in adopting Section 1005’s strict race-based debt relief remedy Congress moved with great speed to address the history of discrimination, but did not move with great care.”
In Tennessee, U.S. District Court Judge S. Thomas Anderson wrote in his decision that the “Absent action by the Court, socially disadvantaged farmers will obtain debt relief, while Plaintiff will suffer the irreparable harm of being excluded from that program solely on the basis of his race.”
In Wisconsin, Judge William Griesbach ruled that the USDA’s “use of race-based criteria in the administration of the program violates their right to equal protection under the law.”
“Aside from a summary of statistical disparities, defendants have no evidence of intentional discrimination by the USDA in the implementation of the recent agriculture subsidies and pandemic relief efforts,” Griesbach wrote, noting that the policy was “a loan-forgiveness program purportedly intended to provide economic relief to disadvantaged individuals without actually considering the financial circumstances of the applicant.”
“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 added. “But it cannot discriminate on the basis of race.”
Previous emails released by civil rights attorney Hans Bader indicate that prior to these court rulings, the Biden administration obviously understood that the policy was unlawful.
This was made apparent following the judges’ verdict, in which Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack alleged that the farmers who sued the administration were motivated by racism.
“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,” Vilsack said, according to Agri-Pulse.
“Now, we are seeing white farmers stepping up and asking why they’re not included in this program. Well, it’s pretty clear why they’re not included. Because they’ve had full access of all of the programs for the last 100 years,” he added.
“White farmers have advantages, including more land and larger farms which have produced more crops and livestock over a longer, documented period of time. And because those farms are larger, better capitalized, and producing most of the crops and livestock, they get most of the USDA payments when payments are distributed. As a result, socially disadvantaged farmers continue to fall further and further behind,” Vilsack said.