Impact of the Supreme Court Decision Adarand v. Pena on the Federal contracting process
Flowers, James D.
Desbrow, Sandra M.
Thomas, George W.
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One of the most controversial topics that has been debated in the last two decades is affirmative action. In 1989, Adarand Constructors offered the lowest bid to subcontract guardrails on a Department of Transportation highway contract, but was not awarded the contract. The award instead went to a minority firm so the prime contractor could receive monetary incentives from the Government for subcontracting with minorities. Adarand sued the Government on the basis that the affirmative action policy violated its constitutional rights of equal protection and due process. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the case and held that the level of scrutiny applied in future applications of affirmative action implementing Federal socioeconomic policy would be raised from intermediate to strict. This thesis studied the need for such programs, the history of socioeconomic policy in Federal contracting, previous Supreme Court cases challenging affirmative action, the changes resulting from the Court's Adarand decision on the Federal contracting process, and interview results exploring reaction to the decision in the small business community. The methodology provided could be used for further research and to assist agencies in making decisions about their continued use of affirmative action.
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