Reverse-discrimination litigation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that a contest providing venture-capital funding only to Black female applicants is substantially likely to violate section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits race discrimination in the making of contracts.  The 2-1 split decision in American Alliance for Equal Rights v. Fearless Fund Management, LLC (No. 23-13138, June 3, 2024) held that an organization devoted to “ending racial classifications and racial preferences in America” was substantially likely to prevail on its § 1981 claim to enjoin the restricted contest, and it remanded the case for entry of a preliminary injunction.

A federal District Court in Ohio recently ruled that a white litigant did not have standing to assert a discrimination claim against a contest that had provided grants to Black-owned businesses.  The decision in Roberts v. Progressive Preferred Insurance Co. (N.D. Ohio May 21, 2024) held that the plaintiff lacked standing to seek retrospective relief under § 1981 of the Civil Rights Act because he had not alleged he would have received a grant had he been able to apply for one.  He also lacked standing to seek prospective relief because the defendants had dropped the race-based eligibility criteria from the following year’s grant program.