An Atlanta venture fund catering to Black women business owners met with skepticism from a pair of federal appellate judges Wednesday, as its lawyers argued a grant contest doesn’t amount to illegal racial bias because the First Amendment protects its freedom of expression.
Judges Robert J. Luck and Kevin C. Newsom questioned whether the presence of a pro-diversity cause in Fearless Fund Management’s business grant program was sufficient to prevent it from being unlawful under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Luck and Newsom were joined by Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum in hearing Fearless Fund’s case, which attracted an overflow crowd at the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Miami.
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