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The Supreme Court's refusal to hear a set-aside case deals a blow to affirmative action.

This story appears in the May 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In the latest blow against minority- and women-owned business set-aside programs, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a Philadelphia law setting aside one-fourth of the city's public works contracts for businesses owned by women or minority entrepreneurs.

By refusing to hear the case in February, the Supreme Court upheld a judge's 1995 ruling that the city's set-aside law should be struck down because it was "motivated by racial and gender politics." Indirectly, the court also took another step toward eliminating similar programs nationwide, as many other cities were closely watching the Philadelphia case to determine whether their own set-aside programs could survive.

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