US District Court Rules Against Biden USDA Race-Based 'Disaster Farm Relief'

P. Gardner Goldsmith | June 10, 2024
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In a move that reveals both how much the Biden Administration likes to engage in racial prejudice and how wide is the gulf between what the U.S. Constitution says and what many contemporary Americans claim it says, a federal court in Texas last Friday issued an injunction against the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) race-based “disaster relief” program that Biden and Congress started as part of their insane, wildly unconstitutional, so-called “American Rescue Plan” in 2021.

You likely remember that "plan." It took $1.9 trillion from us and our progeny and gave it to politically favored interests, all under the guise of “helping” people during the lattice of government-mandated lockdowns tragically called “COVID response.”

It’s been three years since their parthenogenic, tax-eating “problem-reaction-solution” bill passed, and now, presiding Judge Matthew J Kacsmaryk and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas have issued an injunction against eight USDA handout-tracks, all created under the guise of “helping” farmers “recover” from a natural disaster – be it COVID or the weather.

Entitled “Strickland et al, v. U.S. Department of Agriculture (Vilsack), et al” and filed in March, the plaintiffs worked with the Denver-based Mountain States Legal Foundation and the Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF), as Farm Progress noted in May:

“…claiming that the USDA improperly discriminated against them in administering various disaster and pandemic relief programs. Plaintiffs in Strickland v. USDA challenge the USDA’s disparate treatment for certain producers based upon race and sex. The Plaintiffs assert that the USDA violated both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act.”

The latter accusation, Friday affirmed by the court, cited USDA manipulation of the 2021 “American Rescue Plan” as the agency calculated and directed “relief” funds in a manner called “Progressive Factoring” -- something not specified by the actual 2021 statute.

As John Solomon in April wrote for Just The News:

“The farmers said the Biden administration has taken roughly $25 billion in disaster and pandemic aid approved by Congress for farmers in eight programs and devised a system to make awards based on race, gender or other ‘socially disadvantaged’ traits. Such decision-making violates the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment and the Administrative Procedures Act.

‘The Constitution promises equal treatment to all Americans regardless of their race or sex,’ the court filing also reads. ‘It also promises the separation of powers. USDA broke both promises through the disaster and pandemic relief programs challenged here.’"

And Friday, Judge Kacsmaryk’s court agreed -- which is good, and bad.

Going beyond the maladministration issue, beyond the Executive Branch warping of the original handout plan, a curious observer faces the second half of this case, pertaining to the “equal treatment” cited above, as well as the misreading of the Constitution in which even this court has engaged.

To be specific, the Fifth Amendment is not in play here. The so-called “Equal Treatment” cited above is a misreading of the Fourteenth Amendment’s “Equal Protection” clause, and the misreading reveals just how poorly many people understand the Founders’ original rationale for government.

The Founders expressed through the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the US Constitution, that governments are supposedly created to protect people from aggression and harm initiated by other people. Thus, the “Equal PROTECTION” clause requires states to equally enforce their “protection” statutes. The clause is not the “Equal TREATMENT” clause, as in “when the government hands out treats, like money to farmers, it’s got to do that in some kind of ‘equal’ manner.”

Such an idea is, of course immoral, taking from some and giving to others for “natural disasters” like storms, or, in the American Rescue Plan’s schema, for “COVID relief,” but it also indicates that the contemporary view of government is drastically different from the original, here in the US.

This mistaken view is so pervasive, even people suing to stop an unconstitutional government pork program don’t cite the proper section of the Constitution, and even judges don’t express the fact that the Fourteenth Amendment is not about “equal handouts.”

The government isn’t supposed to be engaging in handouts.

Related: Unctuous Biden-Dem Infrastructure Bill: The James Madison Lesson

But the feds have many incentives to dole out the cash and then portray themselves as saviors, even as they play race cards to gain “bonus” pandering points.

As Misty Severi reported Friday, for Just The News, the Southeastern Legal Foundation celebrated this victory, and reminded readers that this is not the only instance of the USDA engaging in racial preference with its slices of pork pie:

"’The court's nationwide injunction ordering the USDA to stop discriminating against farmers in the administration of disaster relief programs because of their race or sex represents a win for freedom and equality,’ the Southeastern Legal Foundation told Just the News in a statement.  ‘USDA has tried this before with other programs, SLF has taken it to court and won.  We won't stop fighting for the constitutional rights of American farmers until USDA earns their trust through fair and equal treatment.’"

Indeed, the New York Times reported in 2021 that Judge Marcia Morales Howard of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, in Jacksonville, temporarily blocked the Biden USDA from “making loan forgiveness payments” (i.e. handing them money to pay loans) to “minority farmers.”

As Ayn Rand said, the smallest minority on earth is the individual. And, until people begin to realize that all forms of government – be those forms enacted for socialist “relief” programs, or for supposed “protection” against other people – until people see that all forms of political action actually undercut our sovereignty as free individuals to control our lives, this kind of pandering, be it racial, or tailored for some other public relations purpose, will continue.

This misreading of the “Equal Protection Clause” is obvious to anyone willing to see it.

But is the greater problem of government? Can one encourage more neighbors to recognize the larger problem of government, itself?

All political organizations undercut individual free will and force everyone into their gelatin gestalt – even under the argument that government is “protecting” people from other people.

From a philosophical standpoint, the Founders opened the Pandora’s Box by assuming government can take your money to “protect you,” and it was only a matter of time before politicians would start to add extra “dangers” to their rationales for government... Dangers beyond other people, "dangers" like weather, fires, even viruses... More and more, until the so-called idea of “protection” became molded into one of “treatment.”

We are not animals. We don’t need handouts, we don't need government treats. And the only way government hands them out is by taking from others.

It’s immoral, and we can recognize that immorality as these battles over which squeaky wheel gets the grease play out.