Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pea, 515 U.S. 200, 9 (1995)

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Opinion of the Court

19.703(a)(2) (1994). We are left with some uncertainty as to whether participation in the 8(d) subcontracting program requires an individualized showing of economic disadvantage. In any event, in both the 8(a) and the 8(d) programs, the presumptions of disadvantage are rebuttable if a third party comes forward with evidence suggesting that the participant is not, in fact, either economically or socially disadvantaged. 13 CFR 124.111(c)-(d), 124.601-124.609 (1994).

The contract giving rise to the dispute in this case came about as a result of the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, Pub. L. 100-17, 101 Stat. 132 (STURAA), a DOT appropriations measure. Section 106(c)(1) of STURAA provides that "not less than 10 percent" of the appropriated funds "shall be expended with small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals." 101 Stat. 145. STURAA adopts the Small Business Act's definition of "socially and economically disadvantaged individual," including the applicable race-based presumptions, and adds that "women shall be presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged individuals for purposes of this subsection." 106(c)(2)(B), 101 Stat. 146. STURAA also requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish "minimum uniform criteria for State governments to use in certifying whether a concern qualifies for purposes of this subsection." 106(c)(4), 101 Stat. 146. The Secretary has done so in 49 CFR pt. 23, subpt. D (1994). Those regulations say that the certifying authority should presume both social and economic disadvantage (i. e., eligibility to participate) if the applicant belongs to certain racial groups, or is a woman. 49 CFR 23.62 (1994); 49 CFR pt. 23, subpt. D, App. C (1994). As with the SBA programs, third parties may come forward with evidence in an effort to rebut the presumption of disadvantage for a particular business. 49 CFR 23.69 (1994).

The operative clause in the contract in this case reads as follows:

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