Federal Judge Blocks Race/Gender-based Grants

A federal judge in Texas this week blocked the Biden administration from distributing grants in a COVID-19 restaurant relief program that prioritizes applicants by their race and/or gender.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush nominee, said he believes plaintiff Philip Greer, a cafe owner, is likely to succeed in his lawsuit against the Small Business Association as he granted a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

Link to the ruling.

Thus, the Court concludes that the government has failed to prove that it likely has a compelling interest in “remedying the effects of past and present discrimination” in the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the same reason, the Court finds that Defendants have failed to show an “important governmental objective” or “exceedingly persuasive justification”9 necessary to support a sex-based classification. See Resp. 24, ECF No. 9. Having concluded Defendants lack a compelling interest or persuasive justification for their racial and gender preferences, the Court need not address whether the RRF prioritization program is narrowly tailored or substantially related to those particular interests. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that Defendants’ use of race-based and sex-based preferences in the administration of the RRF violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution