The University of Michigan Racial Preference
Jennifer Gratz, and Patrick Hamacher
applied to the University of Michigan.
Barbara Grutter applied to the University of Michigan Law
School, was waitlisted, then rejected. Jennifer Gratz and Patrick
Hamacher applied to the University of Michigan’s College of
Literature, Science, and the Arts. Both were waitlisted, then
brought suit against the University of Michigan on the grounds
that the university's admissions
policies include unlawful racial preferences for black,
Hispanic, and Native American applicants. The students argue that the
the Constitution guarantees them equal protection
under the law and that outside an immediate government interest, it
prohibits the state from using race as a criteria for access to
government programs and services.
Now before the US
v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger
have become the most
important Equal Protection cases to be heard by the Court in a
The Opinion of the
In a setback
for individual rights, a majority of the US Supreme Court held that
racial diversity is a compelling government interest.
v. Bollinger (PDF 850K)
Grutter v. Bollinger
challenges University of Michigan's race preferences in brief to US
In an amicus brief to the US Supreme
Court, the Center demolishes the idea that "racial diversity" is a
legitimate government objective. (01-16-03)
Read the Center's Brief
:: The Arguments before the
US Supreme Court granted the student's
petition for writ of
certiorari on December 2nd, 2002.
Briefs to the Court in support of the students were
due on January 16th, 2003. Briefs in support of University of Michigan
were due on February 18th, 2003. Oral argument took place April 1st, 2003.
PETITIONER'S OPENING MERIT BRIEFS
Gratz and Patrick Hamacher
that the University has not met its burden of justifying the racial
preferences that it employs in student admissions. The large,
mechanical preferences given to members of specified racial or ethnic
groups that the University deems to be "underrepresented" on the
campus are not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling purpose, or
any purpose, except racial balancing.
Argues that in granting a strong preference in
admissions to applicants from a select group of racial and ethnic
minorities, the Law School invokes an interest that the Court has
never accepted as a compelling justification for racial preferences,
which it must be to pass the settled requirements of strict scrutiny.
Unlike the one interest – identified discrimination – that the Court’s
precedents have recognized as sufficiently compelling to support
narrowly-tailored remedies, the Law School’s asserted interest in
diversity is incapable of being measured with reference to past
injury, or to anything other than the ill-defined nature of diversity
MERIT BRIEFS OF OTHER
In support of the students:
of America (Gratz)
of America (Grutter)
The University's interest in promoting "diversity" is neither
compelling nor narrowly tailored toward addressing past
Anti-Defamation League (Gratz & Grutter)
While supporting the University's commitment to diversity, ADL
believes the University's admissions scheme denies prospective
students equal protection by emphasizing their race, and not relevant
Legal Foundation (Gratz & Grutter)
Argues that race-based preferences defy the 14th Amendment and often
harm the rights of Asian-Americans.
Institute (Gratz & Grutter)
The University's "critical mass" rational exceeds the limited
privilege permitted by the Court in the Bakke decision.
New Black Leadership (Gratz & Grutter)
The massive racial preferences employed by the University are a
superficial and self-defeating response to the academic gap that
exists in higher education.
Center for Equal Opportunity, Independent Women's Forum, and American
Civil Rights Institute (Gratz & Grutter)
should hold that a State’s desire for greater student-body racial or
ethnic diversity does not justify racial and ethnic discrimination, no
matter how such discrimination is implemented.
Individual Freedom (Gratz & Grutter)
The diversity interest is not compelling. There are ample legitimate
criteria for generating diverse student bodies that do not depend on
invidious assumptions about the greater or lesser worth of students
based on race.
Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (Gratz &
The decisions by the Sixth Circuit in Grutter and the District Court
in Gratz should be reversed on the grounds that the University's
conduct is not narrowly tailored and the government’s classification
of American citizens by race is fundamentally at odds with the
equality principle of the Declaration of Independence, the "principle
of inherent equality that underlies and infuses our Constitution."
The Gurin report, which the University relied upon in its defense, is
and Governor Jeb Bush (Gratz & Grutter)
Florida's experience under Governor Jeb Bush's One Florida Initiative
demonstrates that diversity can be attained through race-neutral
Law Professors (Grutter)
The Court should hold that "diversity" is not a compelling state
interest sufficient to justify race-based discrimination.
Association of Scholars (Gratz & Grutter)
Asserts that the racially discriminatory admissions systems of the
University do not substantially advance intellectual diversity, nor do
race-based programs contribute to the central aim of the University –
the pursuit of truth.
National Association of
The Gurin study, which the University relied
upon in its defense, did not assess whether a racially diverse student
body affects learning (or citizenship). And its measurements of better
learning and citizenship, whatever they may have resulted from, are
Association of Scholars (Grutter)
Group-identity theory has led to less, not more, campus integration,
in direct conflict with the proposition, advanced by the Law School in
this Court, that "meaningful interaction among students of different
racial backgrounds improves the quality of education at the Law School
in many important ways."
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits
states from benefiting or burdening individuals on the basis of race.
Legal Foundation (Grutter)
The Court has required that racial classifications be based on
remedying past discrimination by the government unit involved. This
limitation has been followed by other circuits except the Ninth
Circuit. In the case before the court, there was no allegation or
indication of discrimination against minorities by the law school.
(Gratz & Grutter)
Because there is no evidence of educational benefit from preference
policies in college and university admissions, the university has
failed to meet its burden of showing a compelling interest in imposing
race-conscious admissions policies that discriminate against certain
groups and individuals on the basis of race or ethnicity.
Connerly (Gratz & Grutter)
The "diversity rationale’" is also incoherent and illegitimate in that
Universities are not genuinely concerned with "real diversity," (e.g.,
diversity of thought). Moreover, diversity is fraudulently used
because no other rationale, for the use of race- and ethnic-based
preferences in public education has been permitted by the Court.
In support of the University of Michigan:
In a apparent attempt to intimidate the Court by shear
volume, over sixty groups, organizations, and individuals filed briefs in
support of the University of Michigan.
University of Michigan web page highlighting briefs that support
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