A district court in Tennessee has just pounded another nail into the coffin of legalized racial discrimination, upholding basic concepts of fairness and equal protection.
In Ultima Services Corp. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, federal Judge Clifton Corker ruled in favor of a small business that was denied participation in contracts with the department and the Small Business Administration because the owner, Celeste Bennett, a White woman, was not a member of one of the favored racial minority groups that the USDA and the SBA have decided should receive preferential treatment.
In other words, these federal agencies have been engaging in government-approved racial discrimination.
Oh, they try to disguise their odious misbehavior by claiming they are helping “socially and economically disadvantaged” groups. But those are just code words for discriminating in favor of, and providing benefits to, as the court found, “Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, ‘and members of other groups designated from time to time’” by the defendants.
The government applies a “rebuttable presumption” that any member of one of those groups is “socially and economically disadvantaged.” Thus, they don’t have to actually submit any evidence that they fit in that category.
The agencies were forced to admit that there is “no process for a third party to question” someone’s supposed social disadvantage. Being “economically disadvantaged” means having “diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same or similar line of business.”
Yet the defendants also admitted that they had no “database to compare the access to capital of applicants to the [preference] program to others in similar lines of business who are not socially disadvantaged and do not engage in such comparisons for applicants.”
In other words, even if you are a billionaire and a member of high society, as long as you are the right skin color, you will still be given preferential treatment by the government in its contracting.
If you are the wrong skin color, you will be discriminated against no matter how financially or socially dire your situation is.
This is blatant, invidious racial discrimination of the worst kind.
No other groups have been added to the categories that get special treatment since 1999, according to the court, and the government “has never removed a group from that list for no longer being adversely affected by the present effects of discrimination.” The government doesn’t even “have criteria to evaluate whether a group should be removed from the list.”
The court also found that the government agencies have never considered any race-neutral alternatives to this race-based spoils system.
Judge Corker threw out this racist contracting program because he concluded that the “rebuttable presumption” of the government that all members of these groups are automatically socially and economically disadvantaged violates the “Fifth Amendment right to equal protection” of Ms. Bennett, the owner of Ultima Services Corp. It “does not further a compelling interest and is not narrowly tailored to achieve such interest.”
While this is a good result for Ms. Bennett and other small-business owners, the case illustrates how racial preference programs—a polite way of saying racial discrimination—permeate not just our society, but our government as well.
The Supreme Court just issued a decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard ending such racial discrimination in college admissions, a decision that was almost uniformly opposed by the academic community, evidence of academia’s elitist and biased approval of the type of discrimination that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was supposed to end.
The case is also evidence of the gradual and embarrassing transition of the Department of Justice. At the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and into the 1970s, the Justice Department was the leader in filing litigation nationwide to end discrimination in schools and colleges, in businesses and retail establishments, in transportation and public lodging, and in state and local governments.
Yet it filed an amicus brief in the Harvard case arguing that universities should continue to be allowed to discriminate against, and for, students based on their skin color. And in the Ultima case, it went to court to vigorously defend a government program that does exactly the same thing in the contracting arena—punishing and rewarding business owners not due to their competence, experience, and ability to do a good job for taxpayers, but which ethnicity or race they happen to be based on an accident of birth.
That is a long, disgraceful and dishonorable fall from doing the work needed to uphold our Constitution and its requirement of equal protection for all citizens, to enforce our laws banning racial discrimination, and to ensure a just and fair society.
This piece originally appeared in The Washington Times