Carpenter v. Vilsack: ACR Project and MI Jointly Submit Amicus Brief Supporting Petition for Cert in Challenge to Racial Discrimination Among Ranchers

Home » Blog » Carpenter v. Vilsack: ACR Project and MI Jointly Submit Amicus Brief Supporting Petition for Cert in Challenge to Racial Discrimination Among Ranchers

The ACR Project and Manhattan Institute filed at the Supreme Court an amicus brief supporting Leisel Carpenter’s cert. petition.  You can see the full brief, below.

Congress’s 2021 $1.9 trillion COVID-19 spending bill created a program providing debt relief for some farmers and ranchers. The program conditioned eligibility on ranchers’ being “socially disadvantaged,” defined to embed different standards for ranchers of different races. Ms. Carpenter (who lives in Wyoming) challenged the constitutionality of this racially discriminatory program. Despite her challenge, USDA went forward with the program, making at least four payments to minority farmers in June of 2021. After several injunctions in other cases halted the issuance of payments, Congress gave up and repealed the program. But Congress never addressed the payments already made. Nonetheless, after the program’s repeal, the government sought to dismiss Ms. Carpenter’s case as moot, saying that she no longer had an interest in halting a repealed program. The district court agreed and dismissed the case, which ruling the Tenth Circuit affirmed.

Ms. Carpenter has now asked the Supreme Court to reconsider their rulings. Our brief supporting that petition explains why the lower courts were wrong. We argue that Congress’s mid-litigation course-correction cannot moot a Constitutional damages claim and that its attempt to do so constitutes the kind of mid-lit voluntary cessation that Courts traditionally refuse to allow to moot cases.  We highlight the widespread dissonance between how the Supreme Court has addressed mid-litigation governmental changes to challenged policies and how the Courts of Appeals address the same, suggesting that the Court should take Ms. Carpenter’s case to clarify the proper standard.  Finally, we bring the Court’s attention to the perils posed by the government using periodic retreats to avoid accountability for discriminatory and unconstitutional programs.

Amicus-Petition-Stage.pdf

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Published On: April 16th, 2024Categories: Blog, Filings and CasesBy