Personal Liberties

Rothe Development, Inc. v. Department of Defense

Large battle to end Small Business Act discrimination

Rothe Development, a small contracting business located in Texas, submitted the lowest bid on a Defense Department contract. But because the Small Business Act creates a preference for firms owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals, Rothe was not awarded the contract. Rothe sued the Defense Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) alleging that the preferences violate the Equal Protection Clause. The district court and a split D.C. Circuit court rejected his lawsuit because the statute speaks of individual victims, rather than groups, who have experienced discrimination. Rothe is now petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

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