OCTOBER TERM, 1992
certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eleventh circuit
No. 91-1721. Argued February 22, 1993—Decided June 14, 1993
Respondent city enacted an ordinance requiring that 10% of the amount spent on city contracts be set aside each fiscal year for so-called "Minority Business Enterprises" (MBE's). Petitioner construction contractors' association, most of whose members did not qualify as MBE's, filed suit in the District Court against the city and respondent mayor, alleging that many of its members regularly bid on, and performed, construction work for the city and "would have . . . bid on . . . designated set aside contracts but for the restrictions imposed" by the ordinance in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. Ultimately the court entered summary judgment for petitioner, but the Court of Appeals vacated the judgment, ruling that petitioner lacked standing to challenge the ordinance because it had "not demonstrated that, but for the program, any . . . member would have bid successfully for any of [the] contracts." After certiorari was granted, the city repealed its MBE ordinance, replacing it with another ordinance which, although different from the repealed ordinance, still set aside certain contracts for certified black- and female-owned businesses. Subsequently, this Court denied respondents' motion to dismiss the case as moot.
Held: 1. The case is not moot. It is well settled that the voluntary cessation of a challenged practice does not deprive a federal court of its power to determine the practice's legality, because a defendant is not precluded from reinstating the practice. Here, there is more than a mere risk that the city will repeat its allegedly wrongful conduct; it has already done so. Insofar as the city's new ordinance accords preferential treatment in the award of city contracts, it disadvantages petitioner's members in the same way that the repealed ordinance did. Pp. 661-663. 2. Petitioner has standing to sue the city. Pp. 663-669.Page: Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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