Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Slater

PETITIONER: Adarand Constructors, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Slater
LOCATION: Denton County District Court

DOCKET NO.: 99-295
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

CITATION: 528 US 216 (2000)
DECIDED: Jan 12, 2000

Facts of the case

In Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena (Adarand I)(512 U.S. 200 (1995)), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) use of race-based measures is subject to strict scrutiny. On remand, the District Court held that the Subcontractor Compensation Clause required by the Small Business Act, which rewards prime contractors for subcontracting with disadvantaged business enterprises, and its race-based presumption, failed strict scrutiny because they were not narrowly tailored (Adarand II). After Adarand II, Colorado altered its disadvantaged business enterprise status certification procedure. Under the new procedures, Adarand Constructors, Inc. requested and received disadvantaged-business status from the Colorado DOT (CDOT). Upon learning that CDOT had given Adarand disadvantaged-business status, the Court of Appeals held that Adarand's cause of action was moot and vacated the District Court's judgment in Adarand II.

Question

Did the Court of Appeals err in dismissing Adarand Constructors, Inc.'s suit challenging the U.S. Department of Transportation's procedure for certifying contractors as disadvantaged business enterprises as moot when the Colorado Department of Transportation granted Adarand disadvantaged-business status?