Battling the feds’ discriminatory relief programs

We've all heard and read the pompous government bragging about how the the powers that be are concerned about racial discrimination. To hear them, there should be none and there will be none, especially if you're talking about government programs.

If you believe it, but then again …

Consider ranchers in the American West. One of them is Leisl Carpenter. She works the 2,400-acre family ranch in the Big Laramie Valley in Wyoming with about 500 head of cattle. She's the sixth generation keeping the business viable, and it's the Carpenters' sole source of income.

Like many families, they have been hurt by the long, devastating drought and the fires across the plains. As a result, the number of cattle the ranch can support has dropped and with it, of course, the family income.

In an effort to salvage things, Liesl applied to the government for an FSA loan – Farm Service Agency loans are supposed to benefit disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

The Biden administration had passed a plan to provide $4 billion to forgive loans for those farmers and ranchers who had been hit hard by the weather and COVID.

Sounds good, doesn't it?

Leisl was excited at the prospect and hoped it would help her salvage her family business – that is, until she found out the details.

According to the guidelines for the loans, she is not eligible, because she is white. In fact, because she is white, she can't even apply for the loan!

Fortunately, the Mountain States Legal Foundation is there and is litigating her case against the government – and they do it free of charge.

The basic issue is that the law is a violation of the constitutional guarantee for equal protection under the Fifth Amendment. If it needs to go to the Supreme Court, so be it.

In fact, this case isn't the only one the MSLF is litigating against the government for similar discrimination.

Lorie Smith is a Colorado woman who owns a small graphics design and marketing business. According to MSLF, she wanted the creative freedom to do work that is in line with her strong Christian beliefs.

Unfortunately, the state of Colorado is trying to force Lorie to create a website that celebrates same-sex marriage. She refuses since it contradicts her religious beliefs.

The problem is, if she refuses to comply with the state law, she faces many penalties and crippling fines – in essence, it would mean the destruction of her business.

Again, the MSLF has stepped in to assist and represent her, and it has filed an Amicus Curiae in support of Lorie Smith's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

These are just two of many instances under the Biden administration where the constitutional freedoms of private citizens are in jeopardy.

It's clear that average citizens don't have chance to succeed in fighting the government on such issues without the assistance of an organization like MSLF. After all, the feds are armed with the laws on the books (whether they're constitutional or not) and armies of lawyers to handle the cases, plus the necessary money to pay for them.

All that to battle against the little guy, who doesn't stand a chance.

The Mountain States Legal Foundation is a nonprofit, public-interest law firm that focuses on protecting property rights. It defends constitutional issues involved with private property.

In addition to the two cases mentioned above, it represents multiple clients in numerous states with similar issues.

U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson of the Western District of Tennessee recently granted the group's request for a nationwide halt to the loan program pending judicial review.

MSLF General Counsel William E. Trachmen was direct and to the point, after calling the law an attempt to divide the country along racial lines: "Now that the Biden/Harris administration's discriminating farming and ranch debt relief has been enjoined by another court as a violation of the Constitutional Equal Protection Clause, the writing is on the wall. It's time to treat all of us like Americans, regardless of skin color."

Maybe the little guy will win one after all.

Follow Barbara Simpson on Facebook.


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