Southeastern Legal Foundation Attorney Cece O’Leary Gives Updates as Judge Rules American Rescue Act Unconstitutional

Southeastern Legal Foundation Attorney Cece O’Leary Gives Updates as Judge Rules American Rescue Act Unconstitutional


Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed attorney with the Southeastern Legal Foundation, Cece O’Leary, who gave updates on the pending USDA lawsuit as judge rules American Rescue Act unconstitutional.

Leahy: We are joined on our Newsmaker Line by Attorney O’Leary with the Southeastern Legal Foundation. Good morning, Cece.

O’Leary: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Leahy: We’re delighted to have you on here. So you have an update for us about this USDA lawsuit. Tell us about this.

O’Leary: Yeah, absolutely. So under the leadership of President Biden, the federal government has essentially been hiding behind COVID relief to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race.

And they’re doing this in all sorts of ways. In this particular instance, under the American Rescue Plan Act, the government has been forgiving the loans of non-White farmers.

But it’s denying that same loan forgiveness to White farmers, and this is discriminatory. It’s unconstitutional. And so along with Mountain States Legal Foundation, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of a farmer here in Tennessee to put a stop to this.

And fortunately, just last week, the court issued an opinion where they saw through the government scheme. The court agreed with us and held that this program is not constitutional. It does not stand for equality. And it held that the government must immediately stop this program.

Leahy: Now, help me with this. Is this a recently past statute that is involved in this? Is this the American Plan Act? ARPA?

O’Leary: That’s exactly right. It’s even bigger than a statute honestly. This is part of a concerted effort by the government since pretty much the day that President Biden took office.

Back in January, Biden issued a directive, an executive order all about equity, where he wanted the government to push for more equity.

As a result of that, in March, the government passed the American Rescue Plan Act, which is meant to be a COVID relief bill. But under the Act, the government is really just hiding behind COVID to push this equity agenda.

They are treating individuals differently. They are granting COVID relief and loan forgiveness to minority farmers, but they are not granting that same relief to White farmers.

If you are a White farmer who has been directly impacted by COVID, and let’s say that you suffered from the disease or somebody who works on your farm suffered from the disease, and you had to shut down the farm for a couple of months, that can have a severe impact economically on you.

And I would think you’d be entitled to that relief. The government doesn’t care. The government is not going to give you that relief solely because of the color of your skin.

And we are seeing this in a variety of areas across the spectrum coming from the Biden administration.

Leahy: Cece, if you could elaborate a little bit, there’s a statute, which is the American Rescue Plan Act. When did that pass? In March or so this year?

O’Leary: Yes. That was in March.

Leahy: It passed in March. So there’s a statute, and then there’s a regulation, apparently. I don’t know if it’s a temporary regulation or permanent regulation implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture about how to implement this law.

Does the language of the statute is that racially discriminatory against non-Whites?

O’Leary: Yes. So specifically, what we are suing on is Section 1005 of the statute. This statute essentially gives funding to what they call ‘socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.’

Now, with legislation, often a definition for something is not easy to locate. You have to jump through a couple of hoops to find the definition.

As you go back through the legislation, eventually, what you learn is that when they say socially disadvantaged, they mean Black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Hawaiian, and all these minority races that are not White. But what it comes down to is the color of your skin, your race.

So, to answer your question, yes. This is both in the legislation and the regulation that the federal agency is promulgating, and it ultimately comes down to the color of one’s skin.

Leahy: So the statute itself is unconstitutional.

O’Leary: Correct.

Leahy: I’m looking at how it passed. It passed the Senate 50 to 49 and it passed the House to 220 to 211. It looks like it was entirely partisan here.

O’Leary: That’s correct.

Leahy: Was it like a thousand pages passed in one day with some staffers throwing this language in?

O’Leary: You probably have a better idea of how long it was than I do, (Leahy chuckles) but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was that long.

Leahy: And this is how they do it.

O’Leary: Right. Exactly.

Leahy: What is the legal argument in favor of discrimination in favor of non-Whites and against Whites? What’s the legal argument for that presented in this statute?

O’Leary: The government kind of has two theories going, two reasons going for this statute. Number one, they’re saying that COVID has impacted minorities more than any other group. And number two, with relation to this particular section about farmers, they are saying that there is a history of discrimination within the U.S Department of Agriculture.

We do not deny that there is a sordid history of discrimination in the agricultural field. For years, minority farmers were denied loans, or rates were jacked up against minority farmers.

This is absolutely true that there has been a history of discrimination. However, the government has not offered any evidence of discrimination against farmers within at least the past 20 years.

So it seems that discrimination has essentially been rooted out within the USDA, and it kind of hints that Congress is really hiding behind COVID to push this equity agenda.

The second issue with their reasoning is that COVID does not discriminate by race. The pandemic affects people of all colors. And when you are passing a law where you are going to have race be a factor, race has to be an absolute last resort.

You cannot rely on race to root out discrimination unless it is the absolute narrowest means to achieve your goal. As I mentioned here, if you are a White farmer who has been directly impacted by COVID, the government doesn’t care.

You won’t get the COVID relief that you might be entitled to. Similarly, if you are a non-White farmer, you might not have suffered a day because of COVID.

You might have been able to operate your farm completely normally without any economic harm. Again, the government doesn’t care. Because you are not White, you are still entitled to loan relief.

This really comes down to the color of one’s skin and it is well-settled law that the government cannot just pick and choose which race to award relief to or to grant certain benefits to.

We need to return to this principle of equality, right? Where all races are equal, where we don’t see the color of one’s skin, instead of what the government is trying to promote, which is equity.

Leahy: I’m going to play Devil’s advocate here, right? Doesn’t the federal government advocate have a duty to correct the injustices from about two centuries of slavery that ended in 1865 and about a century of discrimination that ended, depending on when you look at it, in 1970 probably with the federal statutes?

If you’re saying there was some potential discrimination against non-Whites in the administration of the Department of Agriculture programs ending, as you say in 1990, doesn’t the government have a duty to address those past sins?

O’Leary: The government has a duty to protect the Constitution, first and foremost. And it is a long-standing principle in our nation that equality is enshrined in our founding.

It’s enshrined in our Constitution. It is what we have fought and died for. And equality is treating individuals the same regardless of the color of their skin.

Leahy: Will this case go to the Supreme Court, and how will the Supreme Court decide on it?

O’Leary: That’s a great question. We are hoping that the case doesn’t need to go to the Supreme Court. It would be great if the government would stop discriminating on the basis of race, but we’ll see if the government will actually stop.

If it does get to the Supreme Court, we are ready to fight. It’s disappointing that our elected government officials do not value equality as they should.

But the good news is that our framers had such foresight when they were drafting our Constitution that they put checks and balances and separation of powers into play, and so we will continue to put these matters before the courts.

The courts take this issue very seriously, and we expect that if it does get to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will strike this down as unconstitutional.

Leahy: Cece O’Leary with the Southeastern Legal Foundation, thanks for joining us. Come back, if you would, please.

O’Leary: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Cece O’Leary” by Cece O’Leary.














The Federalist’s Ben Weingarten on the Progressive Racial Agenda and Social Justice Shakedown

The Federalist’s Ben Weingarten on the Progressive Racial Agenda and Social Justice Shakedown


Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed author and political writer Ben Weingarten to the newsmakers line to discuss critical race theory, Ibram Kendi’s call for racial division, and social justice shakedown of American’s.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by Ben Weingarten, who writes for The Federalist and has a lot of other fantastic credentials. And, Ben, you have a great piece last month. White Terror Is as American as the Stars and Stripes: How the Left Is Answering Ibram Kendi’s Call for Racial Strife. Good morning, Ben.

Weingarten: Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate that kind introduction.

Leahy: Well, the new information ban is did you see this? Over the weekend, the governor of Washington state has signed a bill that makes the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 public schools in Washington state mandatory.

Weingarten: It’s really unbelievable. It’s an all-encompassing whole of society totalitarian push to impose what I’ve termed a ‘progressive racialist agenda’ on the country under the guise of being noble, virtuous, and just and helping America reckon with its past. So it’s a really insidious way to impose an awful ideology on us that at the same time also tear us apart at the seams by pitting us against each other through this identity politics regime that’s been created.

And that title that you mentioned of my piece was actually a direct quote from Ibram X. Kendi.  And it’s his so-called antiracist philosophy that’s at the core of critical race theory and this wokeism that we’re seeing take place around the country. And thank God millions of Americans are finally combating it.

Leahy: I found the way you phrase this in the middle of your article at the Federalist in theological terms. And I’m going to use a word here in a concept that perhaps students of early Christianity are familiar with. But not a lot of people have perhaps heard this term before. You say, Kendi’s anti-racism, let’s see if I pronounce this correctly, a Manichean concept in which the world is bifurcated into racist and anti-racist. ‘There is no in-between safe space of not racist, Kendi says, which fits neatly into the prevailing progressive or bigot binary.’ Talk about that a bit.

Weingarten: And this is what I mean about the insidious nature of this. The so-called anti-racist ideology says that you are either actively working towards anti-racist measures or you are a racist and a bigot. But the thing is, those anti-racist measures themselves prove to be racist on their own terms, which is actually what I wrote in Newsweek last week as well and can unpack that a little bit too.

But anti-racists judge, whether a policy or person is racist or not, on whether they support policies that achieve ‘equity.’ Not equality. Let’s be very clear. Equity. That’s actually something that was in one of Joe Biden’s first executive orders and at affirmatively advancing equity. So when you hear that buzzword, what does that mean?

Equity for the so-called anti-racist’s is about ensuring that outcomes in society perfectly represent the proportion of the population of each group. So in other words, it’s not about the merit of an individual that they bring to the table or their interests, skills, and ambitions. It’s about forcing a social engineering experiment on society to ensure that we all end up with representation in every aspect of society according to our proportion in the population.

And anti-racist’s themselves and I quote Kendi in this piece are perfectly fine using discrimination and bigotry to the extent it’s supporting equity. So they’re fine being racist so long as the beneficiaries of the racism accord with their equity agenda. And that points to the fraud of this and the notion that you’re either for that progressive agenda or you’re a bigot shows you what an intellectual fraud this is but that it’s a very powerful ideology, because being called a racist and a bigot is, of course, the worst kind of stigma smear that one could face in today’s society.

Leahy: Perhaps you could help unravel a bit of this mystery. Kendi’s comments about capitalism. I’ll read from your piece. Capitalism, which Kendi refers to as a conjoined twin of racism. Kendi states that ‘the origins of capitalism cannot be separated from the origins of racism.’ He suggests that capitalism is racist by dubiously questioning if markets were ever level playing fields between the races and whether plaques could ever compete equally with whites in the marketplace.

He concludes, ‘to truly be anti-racist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist. And in order to be truly anticapitalist, you have to be anti-racist.’ That’s what the guy’s saying. Why Ben are many publicly traded Fortune 500 multinational corporations embracing the philosophy of Kendi?

Weingarten: That’s the million-dollar question or maybe a billion-dollar question if you look at how much money was raised by all these social justice so-called groups over the last year by America’s biggest corporations. I’d say there are a few explanations for it. The first is you have true believers at the top of these companies who all went to the same elite schools where they are basically inundated with this sort of woke ideology.

And so they actually believe it. There’s another cohort that I think is far more cynical. They think that they can adopt this ideology and that it will ultimately accrue to the benefit of their top and bottom lines by getting in line with these movements. And then I think there’s the third segment which is they’re cowed into submission to it.

They’re afraid that if they don’t go along with the anti-racist regime that they are going to be called a racist and they’re going to have picketers outside. They’re going to be people lobbying for regulations to target them, etc. So I would call it something of a social justice shakedown that we’re witnessing. And then the last sort of derivative of one of those buckets, whether it’s the sort of true believers, useful idiots, or the dupes or the cynics is that you have younger workforces within some of these companies, younger employees who are really pushing this hard.

And they are true believers in it. So Consequently, you add up to businesses supporting anti-capitalism with billions of dollars. It’s really a remarkable thing. They think, ultimately that the anti-capitalist crocodile will spare them if they continue to feed it. I think that’s a bad bet ultimately. And by the way, you’re going to upset and alienate half the country. And I think we as Conservatives, are waking up to the fact that we have to find a way to get around doing business with people who hate our guts.

Leahy: Where does this all go, Ben?

Weingarten: Unfortunately, the most optimistic way you can look at it and you see it with the push back on critical race theory in state and local authorities getting invested in these curriculums and putting up fights against anti-American ideology any way that they can in our schools. The best-case scenario is there’s a massive pushback from the silent majority in this country and a better ideology.

And the truly American ideology prevails over what I would argue is an anti-American ideology. I think in the interim, though, we are headed for serious societal disunion where everything is going to break along ideological lines. And I think the left has forced that upon us by pushing politics into every aspect of our society.

Pretty much every part of society is going to be an ideological battleground. Unfortunately, I think we’re going to be at each other’s throats over these arguments. But maybe they have to be hashed out and it’s better to deal with it now than 10 years down the road when it’s metastasized into something far worse and we’re far further behind.

Leahy: Well, you know what? I wish I had a more optimistic view of the future on these issues Ben, but I share your perspective. I really appreciate you coming on to talk with us about this. Come on back again when there are more developments here. Ben Weingarten, thanks for joining us.

Weingarten: Thanks so much for having me and I hope I have better news next time.

Leahy: (Chuckles) We do, too.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Ben Weingarten” by Ben Weingarten.