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Grutter v. Bollinger

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Professional Responsibility Keyed to Hazard

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 539 U.S. 306 (2003)

Brief Fact Summary.

When Barbara Grutter (Plaintiff), a white Michigan resident with a 3.8 grade average and 161 LSAT score, was denied admission to the University of Michigan Law School (Defendant), she sued the latter in federal district court, alleging racial discrimination against her in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment on the basis of the law school’s (Defendant) direct consideration of race as a factor in the admissions process

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Diversity is a compelling interest that can justify the narrowly tailored use of race when public universities select applicants for admission.

Facts.

The University of Michigan Law School (Defendant) receives more than 3,500 applications each year for a class of 350 students.  The Law School’s (Defendant) admissions committee tried to achieve diversity in the student body by requiring admissions officials to evaluate each applicant based on all the information in the file, including a personal statement, letters of recommendation, a student’s essay, GPA score, LSAT score, as well as so-called “soft variables.”  Plus, the admissions policy specifically stressed the Law School’s (Defendant) longstanding commitment to racial and ethical diversity.  In this regard, the official admission policy noted that by enrolling a “critical mass” of underrepresented minority students, Defendant sought “to ensure their ability to make unique contributions to the character of the Law School.”  When Barbara Grutter (Plaintiff), a white Michigan resident with a 3.8 grade average and 161 LSAT score, applied for admission but was denied, she sued the Law School (Defendant) in federal district court, claiming racial discrimination against her in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Following a 15-day bench trial, the district court upheld Plaintiff’s claim.  The court of appeals reversed.  Plaintiff appealed

Issue.

Is diversity a compelling interest that can justify the narrowly tailored use of race when public universities select applicants for admission?

 

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