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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Adarand Constructors, Inc.
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
Facts of the Case 

In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, held that strict scrutiny governs whether race-based classifications violate the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause (Adarand I). The Court then remanded the case for a determination whether the race-based components of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program could withstand this standard of review. Ultimately, the Court remanded Adarand for a second time for a determination on the merits consistent with Adarand I. When the Court of Appeals held, that by virtue of a new regulatory framework under which the DOT's state and local DBE program now operated, that program passed constitutional muster, the Court again certiorari to decide whether the Court of Appeals misapplied the strict scrutiny standard announced in Adarand I.


Did the Court of Appeals misapply the strict scrutiny standard in determining if Congress had a compelling interest to enact legislation designed to remedy the effects of racial discrimination? Is the U.S. Department of Transportation's current Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest?

Decision: 9 votes for Mineta, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

In a per curiam opinion, the Court dismissed the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted. After Adarand asserted that it was only challenging the rules pertaining to the direct procurement of DOT funds for highway construction on federal lands rather than any part of the DOT's DBE program as it pertained to state and local procurement, the Court concluded that the posture of the case had changed. The Court reasoned that such a shift required dismissal as it had not been addressed whether the various race-based programs applicable to such direct procurement could satisfy strict scrutiny and that reaching the merits of such a challenge would require a threshold examination whether the company had standing to challenge such direct-procurement provisions, which was not in the writ of certiorari.

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ADARAND CONSTRUCTORS, INC. v. MINETA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <>.
ADARAND CONSTRUCTORS, INC. v. MINETA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 26, 2015).
"ADARAND CONSTRUCTORS, INC. v. MINETA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015,