Law & Order

Appeals Court Blocks Biden Admin From Prioritizing Grants Based On Race And Sex

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A federal appeals court this week blocked the Biden administration from prioritizing grants in its restaurant relief program on the basis of race and gender.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 6th Circuit Court granted an injunction to a restaurant that sued the Small Business Administration to challenge its use of race and sex preferences when distributing its $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Funds. The court held that prioritizing women, and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners for the first 21 days of the application period violated the equal protection clause.

Judge Amul Thapar, who wrote the majority opinion, ruled that the federal government lacks a compelling interest to use race preferences in awarding the grants. He also wrote that even if the government had a compelling interest, its scheme fails to be narrowly tailored to the interest because race-neutral alternatives exist.

“Because these race-neutral alternatives exist, the government’s use of race is unconstitutional. Aside from the existence of race-neutral alternatives, the government’s use of racial preferences is both overbroad and underinclusive. This is also fatal to the policy,” Thapar wrote for the majority (pdf).

The ruling comes in a case brought by Jake’s Bar and Grill, a restaurant that is jointly owned by Antonio Vitolo, who is white, and his wife, who is Hispanic. The judge noted that if Vitolo’s wife owned 1 percent more of the restaurant, it would then be eligible for priority processing. He then argued that the policy is “plagued with other forms of underinclusivity.”

“Consider the requirement that a business must be at least 51%… (Read more)

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