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

Posted by Matt Schmidt | May 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Gist: The University of Michigan ranked applicants on a point system. To increase student diversity, the point system included an automatic 20 point bonus if the applicant was a minority. Two bitter white students who were denied admission filed suit against the school, alleging that the school's point system was a violation of the equal protection clause and the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed.

The Details:

Under the law, the government must have a compelling interest to regulate any given matter, and the policy in question must be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. The Supreme Court found that although public universities  had a compelling state interest in having a diverse student body, a point system that automatically awarded students based solely on race was not narrowly tailored enough to achieve that interest. While race could be considered as a part of an individual application, it could not be a sole or contributing factor for admission.

Interestingly, Jennifer Gratz, one of the two white students who filed the lawsuit, had been denied admission before U of M had even established the point system. In other words, the point system played no role in her denial because it had not yet existed.

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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