State’s $62 million relief fund for Black Oregonians suspends operations, hands over remaining money to federal court –

The state’s novel $62 million relief fund for Black Oregonians will stop allocating grants and deposit its remaining $8.8 million with a federal court while legal challenges against it continue.

The Oregon Cares Fund agreed to deposit its remaining money with the court Thursday after plaintiffs challenging the fund’s constitutionality asked U.S. Judge Karin Immergut to issue a preliminary injunction or restraining order to stop the fund from distributing money on the basis of race.

This worked out as the Democrats in the Oregon legislature intended: They knew it was unconstitutional when they set it up, they knew most funds would get distributed before courts could stop it, and they knew the funds would not get clawed back. 

“We will make the case that supporting Black Oregonians does not automatically mean that everyone else is harmed,” said organizers of the fund in a statement Thursday. “That idea is only perpetuating the problem of race in America today. In Oregon, Black leaders took leadership and action to give fair access to COVID relief funds through The Oregon Cares Fund.”

It does mean everyone else is harmed if they are excluded from the fund on the basis of race. It takes a lot of gall (and some real legal imagination) to say that it’s everyone else who is perpetuating racism in America.

These are not private dollars, like in say a scholarship fund, wherein the donor(s) can discriminate in whatever fashion he or she chooses. With public money, the equal protection clause of the US Constitution applies. The Democrats should be ashamed of themselves. This is not how we build a more just society.