The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday failed to formally file an appeal in federal court against an injunction that was issued against one of the most controversial aspects of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, leaving the future of planned reparations for non-White farmers in doubt, as reported by Politico.
Monday was the deadline for the DOJ to do so, 60 days after federal judges ultimately ruled that the $4 billion program, which would forgive the debts of exclusively non-White farmers, was unconstitutional and thus could not be implemented. The measure was one of many elements of the bill passed by Congress and signed into law by Joe Biden in March.
The decision by the Biden Administration to not actively support their own policy in court was described as “very unusual” by Neal Devins, professor of law and government at William & Mary Law School. Devins speculated that “maybe they fear a more consequential loss” if they take up the appeal and go all the way to the Supreme Court, only to have the policy struck down by the nation’s highest court.
When asked about the decision, the DOJ referred all questions from the press to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A USDA spokesperson eventually confirmed that the plan was not to move through the federal court at this time, but instead to defend the policy within the trial court level, against plaintiffs who are directly suing the government over the discriminatory and anti-White policy.
The spokesperson continued, saying that “providing debt relief is an important component of USDA’s broader commitment to taking bold, historic action to rout out generations of systemic racism.” The spokesperson provided no evidence to back up his claim of “systemic racism.”
There are currently 12 lawsuits that have been filed against the government regarding the policy, all involving White farmers who have been discriminated against as a result. Meanwhile, black farmers who support the race-based policy voiced their frustration with the Biden Administration’s decision to not appeal the rulings.
John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, said he “was sure hoping they would appeal,” and described their decision not to appeal as “a formula for failure.”