+ Grutter v Bollinger (2003) Acting For Affirmative Action Kacey Katzenmeyer and Tori hall
+ Who was involved? Barbara Grutter, a white resident of Michigan, sued the University of Michigan’s Law School Barbara Grutter University of Michigan’s Law School
+ What Went Down Grutter applied to the University of Michigans Law School with a 3.8 undergraduate GPA and an LSAT score of 161, but she was denied admission. The Law School admits that it uses race as a factor in making admissions decisions because it serves a "compelling interest in achieving diversity among its student body,” so Grutter sued the school in a lower federal court charging that its admissions policy was unconstitutional. She alleged that the school intentionally discriminated against whites, and that this violated the Fourteenth Amendment.
+ Where and When? Grutter sued the University of Michigans Law School (specifically, Graduate Admissions) in 1997. The case was not argued in the Supreme Court until April of 2003, and not decided until that June. The Chief Justice at the time was William H. Rehnquist.
+ The first to hear the Bollinger appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed the case, the District Court concluded that lower decision, holding that the the Law Schools opinion in Regents of the stated interest in University of California v. achieving diversity in Bakke (1978) constituted a the student body was binding precedent establishing NOT a compelling diversity as a compelling one and ruled its use governmental interest which, of race in the admissions process under strict scrutiny review, unconstitutional. justified the use of racial preferences in admissions. Grutter appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which issued a writ of certiorari. The case was added to the docket for the year 2003.
+ Oral Arguments In the oral argument, Grutter’s advocate alleged that the University of Michigan Law School’s use of racial preferences in student admissions violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fouthteenth Amendment —which Grutter forbids states from denying "to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law"—and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—which prevents discrimination (on grounds of race, color, or national origin) by government agencies that receive federal funds. An amicus curiae brief was filed by Theodore B. Olson, an attorney, in support of Grutter.
+ Oral Arguments The mission of the law schools intensely competitive admission process was to achieve "a mix of students with varying backgrounds and experiences who will respect and learn from one another." In its defense, the university maintained that it did not employ racial quotas or percentages in its admissions process but simply sought a Bollinger "critical mass" of underrepresented minorities in each entering class in order to meet its mission. The school claimed it examined both concrete factors (test scores, undergraduate performance) and a host of subjective factors (race, ethnicity, reputation of undergraduate school) in making its admissions decisions.
+ After a conference, applying the logic of Regents of University of Supreme California v. Bakke (1978), theCourt Ruling Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision written by Justice Sandra Day OConnor, ruled that the University of Michigan’s affirmative action program WAS constitutional.
+ Opinions of the Court Majority Opinion in favor of the University of Michigan, held that the Equal Protection Clause does not prohibit the Law Schools narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further their interest in obtaining a diverse student body. The Court reasoned that, because the Law School conducts a highly individualized review of each applicant, no acceptance or rejection is based automatically on a variable such as race; all factors that may contribute to diversity are meaningfully considered alongside race, so nonminority applicants are not unduly harmed. Minority Opinion argued the Law Schools admissions policy was an attempt to achieve an unconstitutional type of racial balancing.
+ Grutter v Bollinger: A Landmark Case The Grutter case affirmed and refined the Supreme Courts position on affirmative action a quarter century after its initial decision in Regents of University of California v. Bakke (1978). The Court made clear that affirmative action programs are only constitutional if they consider race as one factor in an individualized evaluation, and only to achieve the goal of "class diversity." However, this ruling may soon be up for review once more in Fisher v. University of Texas, and the results may be different.