Republican Agriculture Commissioner in Texas Sid Miller filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday for allegedly discriminating against white farmers and ranchers by providing COVID-19 aid exclusively to minority “socially disadvantaged” individuals.
Backed by America First Legal Foundation, Miller asserts the exclusion of white people in the Agricultural Department’s COVID-19 relief package violates the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Courthouse News Service reported.
“These racial exclusions are patently unconstitutional, and the court should permanently enjoin their enforcement,” the complaint states. “Doing so will promote equal rights under the law for all American citizens and promote efforts to stop racial discrimination, because ‘[t]he way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’”
According to Courthouse News, the lawsuit claims the recently-passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan offers loan forgiveness to “socially disadvantaged” farmers and ranchers, but that federal laws restrict help for their white counterparts, including a requirement within the Agriculture Department to give preferential treatment to “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers with grant applications.
The lawsuit also argues that white ethnic groups have been subjected to discrimination, allowing them to “unambiguously qualify as members of a ‘socially disadvantaged group,’ and as ‘socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.’”
“Indeed, throughout American history, many white ethnic groups have been subject to ‘racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities,’ including Irish, Italians, Germans, Jews and eastern Europeans,” the lawsuit states. “Members of these ethnic groups unambiguously qualify as members of a ‘socially disadvantaged group,’ and as ‘socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers,’ under the plain text … ’”
“An interpretation of the underlying statutes that excludes plaintiffs like Miller because he is not ‘black enough’ would raise grave constitutional concerns under Bolling v. Sharpe and it should be rejected for that reason alone,” the complaint continues. “For the same reason, the statutes should not be construed to empower the Department of Agriculture to choose a minimum threshold of minority ancestry when determining eligibility for benefits.”
Former White House adviser Stephen Miller launched the American First Legal Foundation earlier this month, aiming to grow America First policy.
“Those who believe in America First must not shy away from using our legal system to defend our society and our families from any unlawful actions by the left,” Miller said in a statement, according to CBS News. “Those looking to hold the new administration in Washington to account finally have their answer. Our self-imposed policy of legal disarmament is now over.”