Posted at 1:40 p.m. on May 29, 2021
The Brillion News
CINCINNATI - In a 2-1 decision, a federal appeals court ruled on May 27 that the federal government's plan to prefer non-whites and women in giving COVID relief grants to restaurants is unconstitutional discrimination.
The suit on behalf of Kentucky restaurant owner Antonio Vitolo was filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, a conservative activist law firm and think talk.
A Kentucky federal court had ruled against Vitolo, owner of Jake's Bar & Grill, but the appeals court reversed that decision.
It granted an emergecy onjuction and saying "It has been 25 years since the [U.S.] Supreme Court struck down the race-conscious policies in [another case] ... As today's case shows once again, 'the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.'"
The appeal court issued an order that, if the lawsuit succeeds in blocking the race-preference grant program, the Vitolo application will get preference based on the the date the application was filed - and race will play no factor.
"This preliminary injunction shall remain in place until this case is resolved on the merits and all appeals are exhausted," the order of the court states.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act passed in March. It gave preference in awarding grants to women and some racial minoroties. Other minorities and whites were to be place at the end of the grant pipeline.
WILL president Rick Esenberg said the lawsuit on behalf of Vitolo is likely to succeed on its merits because the grant program is unconstitutional.