Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Grutter v. Bollinger case brief

Grutter v. Bollinger case brief summary
539 U.S. 306 (2003)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner law school applicant sued respondents, a law school, university regents, and university officials, claiming race discrimination in the law school's admission policy. The trial court concluded that the policy was unlawful and granted an injunction. Sitting en banc, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the judgment and vacated the injunction. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.

CASE FACTS
The law school had long been committed to racial and ethnic diversity, especially to the inclusion of students from groups that, historically, had been discriminated against. Rather than imposing quotas, the law school admissions program focused on academic ability and a flexible assessment of applicants' talents, experiences, and potential to contribute to the learning of those around them. It did not define diversity solely in terms of race and ethnicity but considered these as "plus" factors affecting diversity.

DISCUSSION

  • The Court found that the Equal Protection Clause did not prohibit this narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further the school's compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from diversity. 
  • The goal of attaining a "critical mass" of underrepresented minority students did not transform the program into a quota. 
  • Because the law school engaged in a highly individualized, holistic review of each applicant, giving serious consideration to all the ways the applicant might contribute to a diverse educational environment, it ensured that all factors that could contribute to diversity were meaningfully considered alongside race.

CONCLUSION

The Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court.

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