A Brief Synopsis of the Legal Battle Against the Fearless Fund

The Truth Staff

In August 2023, the American Alliance for Equal Rights, led by conservative activist Edward Blum, who was instrumental earlier in the U.S. Supreme Court successfully challenging affirmative action in college admissions, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Fearless Fund, its management, and the nonprofit Fearless Foundation.

The lawsuit alleges that Fearless engages in racial discrimination by operating the Fearless Strivers Grant, which awards $10,000 to $20,000 and business-development services to start up Black-woman-owned businesses.

The Alliance, in challenging the Fearless Fund, is using the Reconstruction-era Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibiting race in making and enforcing contracts, to argue that the program discriminates against non-Black women. The Alliance claims it represents three Asian and white businesswomen, all unnamed, who cannot apply for the grant.

After the district court ruled in September on behalf of the Fearless Fund, the Alliance appealed, seeking a preliminary injunction from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that would bar Fearless from closing the application for the program. The appeals panel granted the injunction.

On Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Circuit Judges Robin Rosenbaum (an Obama appointee), Kevin Newsom and Robert Luck (Trump appointees) heard arguments from the Alliance and Fearless which is challenging the temporary injunction. Luck was one of the judges who sided with the Alliance in the initial motion for a preliminary injunction. The decision from the circuit court panel is pending.