State gets sued for discriminating against business on sex and race

 March 31, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A couple of state officials in New York are being sued for the formal discrimination – based on sex and race – that they use in a business licensing program.

Such discrimination, of course, is banned by the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment.

It is the Pacific Legal Foundation that is representing a New York business operated by William Purcell and his brother, Emmet.

The PLF explains the state's "discriminatory" operation "favors some (cannabis business license) applicants more highly than others based on the race and sex of the owners."

The result is that the brothers' Valencia Ag is being prevented from being considered for a license "on equal terms."

The brothers filed all the applications and made all the arrangements for a business, but the state's "application review process prioritizes applications from women and minorities, leaving the Purcell brothers as non-preferred applicants while their expenses accumulate," the PLF said.

"The government cannot give preference to anyone based on immutable characteristics like race or sex. Doing so is unfair and unconstitutional," said David Hoffa, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. "The only criteria that should matter is whether an applicant can demonstrate that they will run a safe and legal business. Everyone deserves the right to try to earn a living regardless of their race or sex."

The report explains the brothers "met all of the eligibility requirements related to finances, residency, and the like. But they soon learned the process is rigged when their application was placed at a disadvantage simply because of their race and sex."

Lawmakers in the state adopted a formal plan of discrimination that requires half of the business licenses to go to "so-called social and economic equity applicants. These applicants also pay half as much as their non-priority counterparts in applications and annual renewal fees."

Special privileges are given to minority and women business owners.

Since the brothers don't qualify for those privileges, "They are concerned they won’t even get an application review, let alone have a license granted, simply because of their race and sex. As of now, they are sitting at the back of the current line for review and will almost certainly need to reapply in the future, where their race and gender can be used against their application in multiple ways."

The PLF explained that while the government is supposed to treat every citizen equally, regardless of race and sex, New York’s cannabis licensing scheme "does the exact opposite."

The complaint seeks a ruling that the discrimination plan violates the 14th Amendment as well as an injunction against its application.

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