For the third time, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to set-aside requirements for federally funded highways.
In 1989, after losing a $20,000 contract where Colorado-based Adarand Constructors was the low bidder, it started a marathon legal battle challenging the government's program to allow additional compensation to a prime contractor for retaining small businesses controlled by "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals."
The denial of the subcontract to Adarand over the course of 13 years has given rise to eight lawsuits, seven decisions and six appeals. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case one more time. Spectators and speculators are waiting to see how the Bush administration will handle this issue.