A federal judge has stopped a loan forgiveness program tailored to farmers of color, siding with plaintiffs who argued it discriminates against white people, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Judge William Griesbach said the plaintiffs “are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim” that the program violates the Constitution’s provisions on discrimination, as it didn’t include white people. His temporary restraining order against the program came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm that is representing farmers from eight states in the case. The Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of the program, told the outlet they plan to appeal the order. “When the temporary order is lifted, USDA will be prepared to provide the debt relief authorized by Congress,” a spokesperson said.
The program, which was approved by Congress as part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Act, provided up to 120 percent of the funds for loan balances for Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other minorities.