in ,

Minority Business Agency Discriminated Against White Business Owners, Federal Judge Says

Source: Pexels/RDNE Stock project

A federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of three white business owners who accused the Minority Business Development Agency of racial discrimination after denying them assistance through the program. Now, the federal agency (which was created to help minority-owned businesses) is being forced to accept applications from all races. Here’s what you need to know!

What Is The Minority Business Development Agency?

The Minority Business Development Agency is a federal agency (part of the U.S. Department of Commerce) that promotes the ‘growth of minority-owned businesses through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research,’ according to their official website.

Source: Shutterstock/imanolqs

The agency was established on March 5, 1969 when then-President Richard Nixon issued Executive Order 11458. Its initial intent was to provide assistance to Hispanic and Latino American, Asian Pacific American, African American, and Native American businesses.

White Business Owners Sue the MBDA

In 2023, three white business owners sued the MBDA after being denied assistance for not identifying as Black, Latino, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, or any other eligible minority group. As a result, they felt they were discriminated against – which, in a way, they were.

Source: Shutterstock/pics five

The three plaintiffs were identified as Jeffrey Nuziard (owner of several Texas health clinics), Matthew Piper (owner of a Wisconsin-based architecture firm), and Christian Bruckner (owner of a Florida-based project management business).

Plaintiffs Argue That The MBDA Violates The 14th Amendment

The bulk of the plaintiffs’ argument centers around the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – which they say is being violated by confirming and/or denying assistance to people based on race.

Source: Shutterstock/zimmytws

The 14th Amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868. It states that no State shall ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,’ and to not ‘deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’

Challenging The Government’s Presumptions About Minorities

The plaintiffs were on a mission to invalidate a government presumption that has stood for more than five decades – that certain minority groups are entitled to preferential treatment and extra government assistance because they’re deemed ‘inherently disadvantaged in American society.’

Source: Adobe Stock/Mikhail Reshetnikov

“They are all interested in finding new ways to grow their business and would value the advice, grants, consulting services, access to programs, and other benefits offered by the MBDA,” the lawsuit states. “But that agency won’t help them because of their race.”

Justice Department Pushes Back On Plaintiff’s Claim

The Justice Department, who was defending the MBDA in the lawsuit, pushed back against the plaintiff’s claims – arguing that ‘any member of a group not presumed socially or economically disadvantaged may petition for a presumption of disadvantage.’ If they deem the individual at a disadvantage, then they’ll be granted access – regardless of race.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Baseball Watcher

“And while the application process may vary for individuals not included in the MBDA presumptions, there is a pathway for them to access the services of the MBDA Business Centers through an assertion of individual social or economic disadvantage,” the Justice Department added.

US District Judge Mark Pittman Rules In Favor Of Plaintiff

On March 5, 2024 – the 55th anniversary of the MBDA’s inception – US District Judge Mark Pittman (who was appointed by former President Donald Trump) ruled in favor of the three white business owners – claiming that the federal agency does, in fact, violate the 14th Amendment.

Source: Flickr/Qbac07

“If courts mean what they say when they ascribe supreme importance to constitutional rights, the federal government may not flagrantly violate such rights with impunity. The MBDA has done so for years. Time’s up,” Pittman wrote in a 93-page decision.

Pittman Orders MBDA To Overhaul Its Program

As a result of Pittman’s controversial decision, the MBDA is now barred from ‘considering or using an applicant’s race or ethnicity in determining whether they can receive’ assistance. And that applies to all 40+ of the MBDA’s business centers located throughout the United States.

Source: Freepik/atlascompany

In his decision, Pittman blasted the MBDA for explicitly discriminating against non-minority business owners – arguing that 55 years is 55 too many for the program. “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose,” he wrote – a quote from former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

District Court Becoming Hub For Conservative Ideologies

In the wake of the ruling, many people are criticizing the Fort Worth division of the Northern District of Texas for its continued preference for conservative ideologies. Pittman is at the heart of a majority of the court’s controversial decisions.

Source: Shutterstock/Ufuk ZIVANA

The court is home to two District Judges (Mark T. Pittman and Reed C. O’Connor), a Senior Judge (Terry R. Means), and two Magistrate Judges (Hal R. Ray, Jr. and Jeffrey L. Cureton).

Pittman Has A History Of Controversy

In 2022, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals (which included Pittman and two other judges) struck down the Biden Administration’s bid to pause the blocking of his student debt relief policy. A separate Texas judge attempted to block it before the appeals court stepped in.

Source: Shutterstock/mostafa ali57

That same year, Pittman ruled that a longtime Texas law banning people between the ages of 18 and 20 from carrying a gun was unconstitutional. He alluded to the ‘Second Amendment’s text, as informed by Founding-Era history and tradition’ – an argument utilized by various other Trump-appointed judges to lift gun restrictions across the country.

New Decision Follows Last Year’s College Admissions Case

Pittman’s decision comes less than one year after the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rules that colleges and universities could no longer use race or ethnicity as a specific basis for admissions. The landmark decision passed with a 6-3 majority – Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson were the minority.

Source: Facebook/La Cicala Parla – Almanacco di via Boccea Roma

Democrats criticized the decision, but Republicans heavily favored it. Donald Trump took to Truth Social and called it ‘the ruling everyone was waiting and hoping for,’ and even former Vice President Mike Pence said he was ‘pleased’ by the decision.

What do you think?

200 Points
Upvote Downvote
Ryan Handson

Written by Ryan Handson

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

15 Things Republicans Are Tired Of Hearing From Liberals

New Pictures Unveil The Thrilling Return Of The Jaguar in the U.S.