Judge Says Biden Admin Restaurant Fund Discriminated Against White Male (Dreamstime)
By Cathy Burke | Thursday, 20 May 2021 01:00 PM
A federal judge in Texas has issued a preliminary ruling that found the Biden administration's nearly $29 billion restaurant relief fund discriminated against a white man who owns an eatery.
In an 18-page ruling, posted by Reason, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ordered the Small Business Administration relief program to temporarily stop prioritizing funding applications from businesses owned by women and racial minorities over that of Philip Greer.
O'Connor, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, found the white man is "experiencing race and sex discrimination at the hand of government officials."
"The evidence submitted by plaintiffs indicates that the entire $28.6 billion in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund may be depleted before plaintiffs' application can be considered for relief under the program," O'Connor wrote.
The dispute arose after Philip Greer, a white male restaurant owner, brought a lawsuit on Sunday against the SBA over alleged violations of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
The suit noted Greer, owner of Greer's Ranch Café, lost nearly $100,000 in gross revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, and had applied for the federal relief program.
But the program — part of the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed in March — prioritizes women, veterans, and "socially and economically disadvantaged" people for an initial period of May 3 to May 24.
The judge concluded Greer was at risk of "irreparable harm" because the entire fund could run out by the time the prioritized groups' claims were processed.
Greer's lawsuit was backed by the America First Legal Foundation, a conservative litigation firm led by Stephen Miller, a former aide to former President Donald Trump, The Hill reported.
"This ruling is the first, but crucial, step towards ending government-sponsored racial discrimination," Miller said in a statemen, The Hill reported.
"We are proud to have obtained this order for our courageous client at this initial stage, but we have a long way to go."
The issue comes as sales at restaurants in April more than doubled from last year, according to Mastercard's data, and were up 6% higher than April two years ago.
"April's retail sales growth reinforces that the American consumer is healthy and eager to spend, especially on categories such as restaurants, which have faced restrictions over the past year," said Mastercard senior adviser Steve Sadove. "The fact is that people are excited to gather again and they're refreshing their look for the occasion."