A federal judge Thursday afternoon suspended a loan forgiveness program that issues relief to farmers and agricultural workers of color.
Judge William Griesbach of Wisconsin’s Eastern District handed down a temporary restraining order after the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit in April. The group alleged in its announcement that President Joe Biden’s relief program was unconstitutional and that white farmers should have been included in the loan program.
“The Court recognized that the federal government’s plan to condition and allocate benefits on the basis of race raises grave constitutional concerns and threatens our clients with irreparable harm, said Rick Esenberg, WILL’s president and general counsel, in a press release Thursday. “The Biden administration is radically undermining bedrock principles of equality under the law.”
Christopher Baird owns a dairy farm near Ferryville in southwest Wisconsin, not far from the Mississippi River. He milks about 50 cows and farms approximately 80 acres of pasture.
Like a lot of farmers, Baird has direct loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.
But the dairy farmer isn’t entitled to a new FSA loan-forgiveness program provided as part of COVID-19 relief in the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, legislation touted Wednesday night by President Joe Biden in his address to Congress.
Baird is white. He joined four other white farmers Thursday in suing federal officials over being left out.
Stephen Miller, the former senior adviser to President Donald Trump, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Biden Administration over its reparations to non-White farmers, pointing out that this constitutes discrimination against White farmers, as reported by The Hill.
The class-action suit was filed by the legal group founded by Miller, America First Legal (AFL), on behalf of the Agricultural Commissioner of Texas Sid Miller, and other plaintiffs. The suit targets a particular provision of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill which is set to distribute funds to “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers,” ostensibly to make up for “systemic racism” and past oppression.