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 March 7, 2024

"Time's up" for discrimination in the name of equity, Trump-appointed judge says

United States District Judge Mark Pittman granted a permanent injunction Wednesday against the discriminatory practices of the Minority Business Development Agency, the Daily Caller reported. The federal agency is no longer permitted to allocate funding or bar applicants based on race. 

The MBDA has been in operation since its founding in 1969. It falls under the U.S. Department of Commerce with the stated mission of being "dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business."

President Joe Biden made MBDA part of the government for good under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. However, Pittman, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, has cut the organization off at the knees.

The judge ruled that turning away some applicants because of their race violates the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The case was brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty over the agency's preferential treatment of some races over others.

The Decision

Pittman conceded that the organization was attempting to do good but did so in a way that was unlawful. "While the Agency may intend to serve listed groups, not punish unlisted groups, the very design of its presumption punishes those who are not presumptively entitled to MBDA benefits," the judge wrote.

"The federal government may not flagrantly violate such rights with impunity. The MBDA has done so for years. Time’s up," he added.

Rick Esenberg, president of WILL, celebrated Pittman's decision to issue the permanent injunction. "The federal government created a discriminatory agency that persisted for decades," Esenberg said in a news release.

"The Biden Administration re-invigorated it and then refused to help millions of businesses based on race. Those days are now over," he echoed Pittman.

"Equality must be the law of the land, and through the bravery and persistence of our clients, we are closer to fulfilling that dream," Esenberg concluded. This, in part, signals a change in the way the ills of past discrimination are handled.

No More Discrimination

This latest move by Pittman comes on the heels of another landmark decision that challenged preferred status based on race. In June, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action for college admissions in a 6-3 decision, Fox News reported.

The case was brought by a group of Asian students who charged that there was a "racial penalty" imposed on them in the admissions process because they were held to a higher standard than other racial minorities. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, agreed.

"A benefit to a student who overcame racial discrim­ination, for example, must be tied to that student’s courage and determination. Or a benefit to a student whose herit­age or culture motivated him or her to assume a leadership role or attain a particular goal must be tied to that student’s unique ability to contribute to the university," Roberts said.

"In other words, the student must be treated based on his or her ex­periences as an individual—not on the basis of race," he added. Between these two moves, it appears the courts finally acknowledge that race-based perks are just another form of discrimination.

The MBDA had the noble purpose of helping minority business owners. However, the method for carrying out such a mission is unfair and discriminatory, and the courts are increasingly unwilling to let such injustice stand.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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