Federal Equity Agency Suffers a Defeat in Court

Biden's New Equity Plan Defeated in Court

(UnitedVoice.com) – In 1969, former President Richard Nixon developed the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Its purpose was to pay exclusive attention to businesses owned by minorities across the country in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1971, the former POTUS signed an executive order giving the agency access to grants for private and public organizations so they could assist minority businesses.

Throughout the years, the agency has remained active. Then, in 2021, Congress and President Joe Biden permanently authorized the MBDA in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The agency provides minority businesses with grants, consulting, training, government contracts, and other benefits to help them succeed. But the idea that the government would show favoritism to a group of people based on their race led to a lawsuit against the Biden Administration. A federal judge issued a preliminary ruling in early June.

The Case

Plaintiffs Matthew Piper, Jeffrey Nuziard, and Christian Bruckner filed a lawsuit on March 20, 2023, against the MBDA, the president, and others in the administration in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The men challenged the government agency and the funding that the federal government provided it.

The plaintiffs argued the agency is intended to support minority-owned agencies. To qualify for those services, a business must be at least 51% owned by individuals from an economically or socially disadvantaged group. Its daily business operations and management must also be controlled by people who belong to those groups. The men argue that the agency is discriminatory because it uses race to define what a “socially or economically disadvantaged” group is and doesn’t allow others, like white people, to join that group.

Preliminary Ruling

On June 5, Distinct Judge Mark T. Pittman, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, issued a preliminary injunction against the agency. The first sentence of the judge’s decision made it very clear where he stands on the matter, saying, “The Constitution demands equal treatment under the law.”

Pittman goes on to explain that any time the government uses a racial classification to subject a person to unequal treatment of the law, it would be strictly scrutinized. In this particular case, the MBDA only provides services to a certain selection of businesses based on the racial or ethnic makeup of the companies. And the government hasn’t shown why narrowly tailoring it that way provides a “compelling government interest.” For that reason, the judge believes the plaintiffs will win their case and issued a temporary injunction ordering the government to stop discriminating against the men.

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