Saturday, December 7, 2013

Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena case brief

Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena case brief summary
515 U.S. 200 (1995)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner contractor appealed from judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which upheld a federal government racial classification used by respondent Secretary of Transportation in awarding contracts. Petitioner challenged the classification onFifth Amendment equal protection grounds.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner, low bidder on a federal contract, was denied the contract because a presumptive preference was given to minority business entities; petitioner sued, claiming violation of itsU.S. Constitutional Amendment V equal protection rights. Lower federal courts rejected claim, relying upon precedent which subjected U.S. Constitutional Amendment V equal protection claims to intermediate scrutiny.

DISCUSSION
  • The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that: 
  • (a) petitioner could claim injury owing to a discriminatory classification which prevented it from competing on an equal footing (petitioner need not allege that it would have obtained a benefit but for the discriminatory classification); 
  • (b) U.S. Constitutional amends. V and XIV equal protection claims are analyzed precisely the same way - applying strict scrutiny analysis (that is, government racial classifications must serve a compelling governmental interest and be narrowly tailored to further that interest); and 
  • (c) since lower courts applied intermediate scrutiny, remand for strict scrutiny analysis was required.

CONCLUSION
The judgment was reversed and remanded; U.S. Constitutional Amendment V equal protection claims are analyzed just like Amendment XIV claims when governmental racial classifications are involved - a classification must serve a compelling governmental interest and be narrowly tailored to further that interest.

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