federal-judge-rules-minority-business-agency-must-serve-white-people-as-well

Federal Judge Rules Minority Business Agency Must Serve White People As Well

U.S.|Federal Judge Rules Minority Business Agency Must Serve White People as Well

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/06/us/business-development-race-affirmative-action.html

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The ruling, by a judge in Texas, was the latest in a string of court decisions that have eroded or struck down federal affirmative-action mandates in a variety of arenas.

A Commerce Department agency has been told it cannot serve only minority-owned businesses.Credit…Graeme Sloan/SIPA USA, via Associated Press

The Minority Business Development Agency, a Commerce Department program created during the Nixon administration to help minority-owned businesses, discriminates against white people and must offer its services to people of all races and ethnic groups, a federal judge in Texas ruled on Wednesday.

The judge, Mark T. Pittman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, sided with two of the three white business owners who sued the agency after they were told its assistance was limited to members of “disadvantaged” minority groups. The third was found to not have standing.

The presumption that the business owners were not disadvantaged violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, wrote Judge Pittman, who was named to the federal bench by President Donald J. Trump. Judge Pittman permanently barred the agency from serving only members of minority groups.

“If courts mean what they say when they ascribe supreme importance to constitutional rights, the federal government may not violate such rights with impunity,” he wrote. “Time’s up.”

The ruling was the latest in a string of court decisions that have eroded or struck down federal affirmative-action mandates in a variety of arenas. The most prominent example was a Supreme Court ruling last June that upended race-conscious college admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

The three plaintiffs who sued the Commerce agency based their legal argument on that ruling, and Judge Pittman referred to it 32 times in his opinion.


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