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Defunis v. Odegaard

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.U.S. 312, 94 S. Ct. 1704, 40 L. Ed. 2d 164 (1974)

Brief Fact Summary. Marco DeFunis, Jr. applied for admission as a first-year student at the University of Washington Law School, a state-operated institution. When he was denied admission, he brought suit in a Washington trial court claiming that the admissions committee procedures were racially discriminatory.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. In federal cases before the Supreme Court, there must be an actual case and controversy which exists at the stages of appellate or certiorari review, and not simply at the date the action is initiated.

Facts. Marco DeFunis, Jr. sued the University of Washington Law School, a state operated university. DeFunis argued that the University’s admissions policies and criteria were racially discriminatory. However, DeFunis was allowed to attend the law school during the case and was in his third year when the case was heard by the Court. Further, the University has agreed to let him graduate upon completion of his last year.

Issue. Does an actual controversy exist between the parties, capable of redress by the United States Supreme Court (Supreme Court)?

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