DEI’s Days are Numbered, WILL Secures Massive Legal Victory Against Discriminatory Federal Agency

On behalf of small businesses from Wisconsin, Texas, and Florida, WILL sued President Biden’s new “Minority Business Development Agency” and Won

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) has secured an historic legal victory against the Biden Administration. A federal judge has just declared unconstitutional the racially discriminatory federal laws creating the Minority Business Development Agency. This agency, known as the MBDA, was designed to help Americans of some races, but not other races.  WILL represented clients from Texas, Wisconsin, and Florida in this lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in the Northern District of Texas.  The Biden Administration is now prohibited from using the MBDA to discriminate against businesses based on race. In the Court’s words, MBDA “can still operate its Business Centers, it must simply do so without vetting applicants based on race.” The holding will open up the MBDA to serve all Americans, not just certain races.

The Quotes: WILL President and General Counsel, Rick Esenberg, stated, “This is exactly why WILL exists. The federal government created a discriminatory agency that persisted for decades. The Biden Administration re-invigorated it and then refused to help millions of businesses based on race. Those days are now over. Equality must be the law of the land, and through the bravery and persistence of our clients, we are closer to fulfilling that dream.”

WILL Deputy Counsel, Dan Lennington, stated, “This is a historic victory for equality in America. No longer can a federal agency cater only to certain races and not others. The MBDA is now open to all Americans.”

In his decision, District Judge Mark Pittman, noting that the MBDA was established “this very day fifty-five years ago,” he explained the agency’s “very design” “punishes” those of certain disfavored racial groups. He continued, “the federal government may not flagrantly violate such rights with impunity. The MBDA has done so for years. Time’s up.”

Additional Background:  WILL’s lawsuit challenged the Minority Business Development Agency, which was made permanent by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The lawsuit alleged that the new agency violated the Equal Protection Doctrine, which guarantees that all individuals must be treated equally, without regard to race. The Court agreed with WILL, and declared the MBDA’s race-based criteria—which formed the basis of all programming at MBDA—unconstitutional. The federal government is now prohibited from using this agency to discriminate based on race.

The effort to overturn this program is through WILL’s Equality Under The Law Project, which has targeted numerous programs at the heart of Biden’s Racial Equity Agenda.  WILL previously sued the Biden Administration for its Farmer Loan Forgiveness program, which cancelled certain farm loans based on race, and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which provided COVID benefits to certain restaurants with a racial preference. WILL obtained the first nationwide injunctions against both of those programs. WILL is also challenging another portion of the 2021 Infrastructure Act, which sets aside $37 billion in federal contracts to certain small businesses based on race. That case is pending in federal court in Kentucky.

More about WILL’s Equality Under the Law Project can be found here:

Read More:
Order Granting Injunction , 3.6.24
Original Complaint, 3.20.23

Rick Esenberg

Rick Esenberg

President and General Counsel

Dan Lennington

Dan Lennington

Deputy Counsel

Cara Tolliver

Cara Tolliver

Associate Counsel

Share This