FULLILOVE v. KLUTZNICK
In 1977, Congress enacted legislation requiring that at least 10 percent of federal funds granted for local public works programs had to be used to obtain services or supplies from businesses owned by minority group members. H. Earl Fullilove and other contractors filed suit, claiming they had been economically harmed by the enforcement of the statute. The defendant was Philip M. Klutznick, Secretary of Commerce.
Did the provision of the statute for minority business enterprises violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
Legal provision: 91 Stat. 116
No. The Court held that the minority set-aside program was a legitimate exercise of congressional power. The Court found that Congress could pursue the objectives of the minority business enterprise program under the Spending Power. The plurality opinion noted that Congress could have regulated the practices of contractors on federally funded projects under the Commerce Clause as well. The Court further held that in the remedial context, Congress did not have to act "in a wholly 'color-blind' fashion."