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Lawsuit: “Inclusive” COVID-Relief Program Excluded Straight White Male

Lawsuit: “Inclusive” COVID-Relief Program Excluded Straight White Male

“The government’s exclusion of Mr. Dalton due to his race, sex, and sexual orientation is unconstitutional. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution forbids the government from discriminating against individuals on such bases.”

A small-business owner has sued Massachusetts for denying him access to relief funds because of his sexual orientation, race, and sex. Brian Dalton owns a firearms training business that was “shuttered” by COVID lockdown orders, resulting in financial hardship according to the lawsuit.

Because of Dalton’s status as “a white, heterosexual male,” he was ineligible for relief under the state’s Inclusive Recovery Grant Program, which targeted businesses serving or owned by “socially and economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups.” Eligible businesses could receive grants of $10,000 to $75,000 from a $75 million fund.

The language of the Inclusive Recovery Grant Program expressly limits eligibility in a manner denying Dalton a “fair opportunity at recovery because of his race, sex, and sexual orientation”:

Business must meet at least one of the following criteria:

– Minority-owned
– Woman-owned
– Veteran-owned
– Immigrant-owned
– First-Generation Immigrant-owned
– Disability-owned
– LGBTQ+-owned
– Focus on reaching markets predominantly made up of socially and economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups or underserved markets (emphasis original)

Dalton seeks certification as a class action “to represent a class of small businesses and small business owners, which would have been eligible to apply for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Inclusive Recovery Grant Program if the businesses were minority-owned, female-owned, or LGBTQ-owned.”

The complaint asserts one claim for relief: violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Dalton alleges “[s]tate actors and their agents, under the color of state law, enforce the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Inclusive Recovery Grant Program” contrary to the Equal Protection Clause, which “provides that no state shall ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'”

Andrew Quinio, one of Dalton’s attorneys at the Pacific Legal Foundation, spoke to Legal Insurrection about the lawsuit. Quinio distinguished race preferences in the relief program from those in higher education, where the government can consider race as a factor.

“Consideration of race in government grants can only be done to remedy past discrimination perpetuated by the government. . . . [T]his program doesn’t target individuals that have struggled to access needed capital due to actions by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

The complaint names as defendants the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, which administered the program, and Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Yvonne Hao and MGCC President and CEO Lawrence Andrews, both in their official capacities because of the authority they exercise over MGCC.

Dalton seeks a declaration of the program’s unconstitutionality as a denial of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, a permanent injunction barring the defendants from implementing the program’s “preferences for minority-owned, women-owned, and LGBTQ+-owned businesses,” attorney fees and costs, and nominal damages of $1.00.

Dalton’s complaint:

Inclusive Recovery Grant Program overview:


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Maybe Dalton’s County should vote on whether it should leave MA and become part of Greater Idaho.

    henrybowman in reply to Q. | June 11, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    Counties in Massachusetts (generally most of the older NE states) are mostly vestigial entities with little or no function or power.

    There is a celebrated (true) story about years of campaign after campaign for the position of Worcester County Commissioner, all of whose candidates won after running on a platform of “eliminating County government entirely,” and who then sat back after they were elected and collected their paycheck. (You don’t have to ask what party.) It took a County bankruptcy (relatively recently, after 2000) and financial reorganization by the state itself to put the final stake in the heart of county government in MA.

So the State of Mass is engaging in nullification? John C. Calhoun is somewhere smiling.

    henrybowman in reply to Whitewall. | June 11, 2023 at 4:51 pm

    They’ve been doing that for decades, since the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that the Second Amendment was only a right of state militias, not of individuals.

      gospace in reply to henrybowman. | June 11, 2023 at 6:05 pm

      And the Massachusetss Constitution has one of the clearer examples that being armed is the right of the people.

      Article XVII.
      The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.

It’s appalling that in 21st-century America, federal and state governments are still knee-deep in state-sponsored racial and other discrimination, thanks to the vile and lawless Dumb-o-crats’ rabid pursuit of their racist and unconstitutional “equity” and “diversity” schemes.

2smartforlibs | June 11, 2023 at 3:46 pm

When there are no laws can a law be broken? The Law has become fluid since Dictator Dementia took office.

Branco cartoon!

I’ve missed them.

E Howard Hunt | June 11, 2023 at 7:04 pm

If they keep calling me straight, I fail to see why I can’t call them bent.