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The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging allegedly unconstitutional race discrimination in the American Rescue Plan’s provision to offer loan forgiveness based on racial categories. The plaintiffs are twelve farmers and ranchers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon, and Kentucky. Each plaintiff would be eligible for the federal loan forgiveness program, but for their race. In response, U.S. District Judge William Griesbach issued a temporary restraining order on June 10, 2021 halting payments. Other cases subsequently resulted in similar orders.These lawsuits challenge the extent to which the government can prefer one racial group over another based on allegations of generalized societal or industry discrimination. Prior litigation had addressed allegations of particularized discrimination by the government against black farmers but this more traditional focus on discrimination and tailored remedy was thought by the administration to be inadequate. How should courts respond?
Rick M. Esenberg, Founder, President, and General Counsel, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty
Devon Westhill, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
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