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Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), Case Study Example

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Case Study

This case was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003.  The case centered on one Barbara Grutter, a white resident of Michigan , who applied for admission to the University of Michigan Law school.  She was an undergraduate with an LSAT score of 161.  Law school, subsequently denied her admission free to admitting that it uses race as one of the determining factors for deciding upon university admissions.  It was stated that the prime reason for this was the universities, compelling interest in achieving diversity amongst the student body. “The District Court concluded that the law school’s interest in achieving diversity within the student body was not a compelling one and enjoined the use of race in its admissions process”  (The Oyez Project Grutter v Bollinger).  Subsequently, the Court of Appeals reversed this holding, that Justice Powell’s opinion in metal.  Regents of the University of California, v. Baake, 438 US 255 (1978) constituted a binding precedent, that est. diverse tape as a compelling government interest” sufficient under strict scrutiny to justify the use of racial preference in admissions”.  Similarly, the Palais called also rejected the District Court’s finding stating that the law schools critical mass was functional equivalent of a quota.

In the context of the Supreme Court and the opinion was delivered by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  Here, the Supreme Court held that the equal protection clause does not prohibit your schools narrow focus of the use of race in admissions.  The court further upheld that because the law school, conducted its admissions reviews on an entirely individual and personalized basis, no automatic acceptance or rejection was based on a single factor of race alone.  Hence, O’Connor stated ” in the context of its individualized inquiry into the possible diversity contributions of all applicants, the law school’s race conscious admissions program does not unduly harm non-minority applicants”.  (The Oyez Project Grutter v Bollinger).

The question of  diversity and equal rights is an important one.  The universities and in particular, law schools are the main training grounds for a large number of the nation’s leaders.  For example, individuals with law  degrees occupy roughly half the state governorships, more than half the seats in the United States Senate, and more than a third of the seats in United States House of Representatives. Major corporate American businesses have made it very clear that in ”  order to compete in today’s increasingly global marketplace.  This can only be developed through exposure to a wide diverse people, cultures, ideas and viewpoints.”  (Sandel).

One of the key issues, supporting the argument of the plaintiff was that the decision of the law school violated the 14th amendment.  This forbidding any state’s from denying to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.  The Law School in its defense maintained that it did not employ racial quotas or percentages in the admission process.  But rob the sort of critical mass of underrepresented minorities in each entering class.  The emphasis on underrepresented racial and ethnic minority applicants i.e. African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans were given favorable consideration because of the school’s mission of student diversity.  They provided evidence that suggested that without such an affirmative action policy by the school and minority chances of admission would decrease from 35 to 10%.  The plaintiff’s argument being that this was reverse discrimination and therefore unconstitutional. (McBride).

Finally the Supreme Court, ” in a 6-3 decision by  Chief Justice William Rehnquist, ruled that the University of Michigan’s undergraduate admissions program was unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection clause” .  (McBride).

Works Cited

McBride, Alex. Landmark cases Grutter v Bollinger. 2007. 19 2 2010 <http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/future/landmarkgrutter.html>.

Sandel, Michael. Gritter v Bollinger 2003. 2010. 19 2 2010 <http://www.justiceharvard.org/?option=com_contents&view=article&id=59&catid=21:epi…>.

The Oyez Project Grutter v Bollinger. The Oyez Project Grutter v Bollinger. 16 2 2010. 19 2 2010 <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_241/>.

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