A U.S. district court granted a Texas restaurant a temporary restraining order (TRO) against President Joe Biden’s Small Business Administration (SBA) so the restaurant could overcome the SBA’s race- and sex-based method of distributing federal relief funds.
Greer’s Ranch Café, represented by America First Legal (AFL) and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, claimed it lost $100,000 in revenue amid coronavirus shutdowns but was unable to tap into the federal government’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) — for which the restaurant would otherwise be eligible — because of SBA’s race- and sex-based application preferences.
“We are really fighting for very basic principles of the U.S. civil rights movement that are coming under increasing attack,” AFL President Stephen Miller told Breitbart News.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” — which includes the RRF — directs the SBA to prioritize funds for restaurants owned by women, veterans, and those who are “socially and economically disadvantaged.”
The SBA’s instructions on its website, therefore, describe a “priority period” of three weeks, May 3 to May 24, during which it “will accept applications from all eligible applicants, but only process and fund priority group applications,” which it defines as restaurants owned by “women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.”
The SBA website defines “socially disadvantaged” individuals as “those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.”
A brief filed in support of the restaurant details the specific categories of individuals who the SBA deems “socially disadvantaged,” including black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and more.
Frank Greer, a white male and the owner of the Texas restaurant, does not fit into any of the SBA’s priority groups and therefore did not qualify for the SBA to process his application for the relief funds during the three-week window. The TRO now forces the SBA to process his application.
Among its conclusions, the TRO states 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’ necessary to support a sex-based classification.”
Miller, who recently launched AFL and is ultimately aiming for it to serve as the “conservative answer” to the American Civil Liberties Union, celebrated the restaurant’s TRO as a small victory in a larger societal battle.
“You’re going to increasingly see, and have already seen, an attempt to use the power of government to impose racial preferences and also to just in general make race-based decision-making, which will hurt everyone in this country of all backgrounds,” Miller warned.
He emphasized “the most important point in all of this” is Judge Reed O’Connor stating in the order granted to the restaurant that the “Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims.”
“That’s a highly respected federal district court judge, an extremely respected and talented jurist saying that the law is, that your legal argument is likely to succeed on this issue is so essential to the future of our country,” Miller said.
A TRO is an extremely rare order a court can issue only under extraordinary circumstances, such as when the government commits an egregiously illegal act that is clearly unlawful and justifies an emergency response while the court takes further action.
Further hearing on the case will take place Monday, where the court is expected to consider whether to convert the TRO into a preliminary injunction, which would block the policy while the Biden administration takes the matter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The case is Greer’s Ranch Café v. Guzman, No. 4:21-cv-00651-O in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.