A US federal judge issued a preliminary ruling Tuesday in favor of a white male restaurateur who claimed he had been discriminated against in connection to his application for some of the nearly $29 billion in relief offered by the Biden administration.
Philip Greer, the owner of a cafe in Texas, wanted to apply to the Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) for help after his cafe lost $100,000 in revenue because of the pandemic. However, the SBA has a mandate to prioritize applications from women, veterans and persons from socially and economically disadvantaged groups for the first 21 days of the program. Based on the number of applications from the priority groups, Greer feared that the fund would run out of money before the SBA could get around to considering his application.
Greer filed suit, claiming that the SBA’s policy violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. He asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting the SBA from administering the RRF on the basis of sex or race. The SBA argued that the government has a compelling interest in redressing the effects of past and present discrimination against minority-owned small businesses and that the prioritization scheme furthers that interest.
In the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Judge Reed O’Connor, found that the defendants “lack[ed] the industry-specific inquiry needed to support a compelling interest for a government-imposed racial classification.” O’Connor concluded that the evidence shows Greer will suffer irreparable harm because the RRF will likely run out of money before his restaurant could even be considered for relief. The judge granted the restraining order, directed Greer to file his application with the RRF before May 19, and enjoined the SBA to process and consider his application. There was no word from the Justice Department on whether they would appeal the ruling.
Greer’s lawsuit was backed by the America First Legal Foundation, whose president is former Trump Administration senior adviser Stephen Miller, architect of that administration’s infamous Muslim travel ban. Miller called the ruling, “the first, but crucial, step towards ending government-sponsored racial discrimination,” and railed against Critical Race Theory, which he characterized as a “new wave of government discrimination.”