The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to issue a temporary block against Fearless Fund issuing grants per a request from the American Alliance for Equal Rights, which sued the group over the grants. The alliance is another organization founded by activist Edward Blum, who created the Students for Fair Admissions, a group the Supreme Court sided with in the Harvard College and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill cases, effectively ending the use of race as a factor in college admissions.
On Tuesday, an Atlanta, Georgia-based judge denied the AAER a preliminary injunction against Fearless Fund and allowed the grant program to continue. Rev. Al Sharpton held a press conference outside the Richard B. Russell federal courthouse there to commemorate the decision.
AAER appealed the decision as part of its effort to show the grants contribute to a "racially exclusive program," as it claims. These grants seemingly violate Section 1981 of the 1866 Civil Rights Act, a Civil War-era law prohibiting race-based bias in contracts, according to U.S. Circuit Judges Robert Luck and Andrew Brasher's ruling four days later. Now the panel will examine the program more closely to determine its permanent future.
"The members of the American Alliance for Equal Rights are gratified that the 11th Circuit has recognized the likelihood that the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is illegal," Blum said in a statement. "We look forward to the final resolution of this lawsuit."
Fearless Fund did not respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment. Its women of color grant program has currently closed its applications, while other grant programs remain open.
Per its website, the organization has awarded over $3 million via its various programs and had over 22,000 women apply. Mastercard, Tory Burch, and JP Morgan Chase are listed as investors.