SBA Program Upended in Wake of SCOTUS Affirmative Action Ruling
A federal program meant to help minority-owned businesses is in question
Thousands of Black, Latino and other minority business owners are scrambling to prove that their race puts them at a “social disadvantage” after a federal judge declared a key provision of a popular federal program unconstitutional, extending the Supreme Court of the United States' (SCOTUS) recent retreat from affirmative action.
The Small Business Administration's (SBA) 8(a) Business Development program was meant to open a pipeline to billions in government contracting dollars for historically disadvantaged groups. But in July, a federal judge in Tennessee struck down a provision of the program that equated race with social disadvantage.
The decision — one of the first to affect the private sector in the wake of SCOTUS' June decision upending race-conscious college admissions — throws into disarray an SBA program that has served minority-owned small businesses for about 50 years. Legal experts said it could signal trouble for other programs meant to help underrepresented groups win federal contracts, including veterans and women.
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