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Important U.S. Supreme Court Cases: Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)

Posted by Matt Schmidt | Sep 04, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Gist: The University of Michigan Law School used race as one of many factors  in evaluating applicants.  A white applicant who was denied admission sued, claiming the use of race as a factor was discrimination that violated her Fourteenth Amendment and Civil Rights. The Supreme Court disagreed, ruling the school had a compelling government interest in having a diverse student body.

The Details: 

To regulate any matter, the government must have a compelling interest and the policy it implements must be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. Many Supreme Court decisions have held that policies providing and advantage to minorities in order to create more balance and diversity were unconstitutional because the policy was not narrowly tailored enough (For example, Parents Involved v. Seattle School DistrictGratz v. Bollinger). In those cases, however, the policies often made race the only factor, a primary factor or a part of a quota system.

Here, the Supreme Court ruled that a diverse student body in higher education was a compelling government interest and that using race as one of several factors to evaluate applicants was narrowly tailored enough to achieve that interest. The Court distinguished this case from the others by noting the policy used race as only one of many factors (it was not the only factor) and did not use a quota system.

About the Author

Matt Schmidt

Matt graduated from the James E Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in passing the Arizona bar exam in 2010. Matt's primary interest in law focuses on general personal injury and insurance bad faith.

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