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Grutter v. Bollinger

Citation. 539 U.S. 306 (2003)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Grutter applied to UMLS and was rejected. She objected to UMLS’s admissions policy, which included race as a factor.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Race is an acceptable consideration in admissions when the admissions policy is narrowly tailored and a means to achieve diversity.


Grutter applied to UMLS and was rejected. UMLS used race as a factor, giving applicants of certain minority groups a significantly greater chance of admission than students with similar applications of majority racial groups.


Is UMLS’s admissions policy constitutional?


Yes, it is.


Justice Thomas (with Scalia)

These sorts of programs are just meddling and unnecessary. There is no compelling interest in maintaining an elite law school.

Justice Rehnquist (with Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas)

This admissions policy is just an attempt to achieve racial balancing unconstitutionally. “Critical mass” is an inappropriate and vague goal.


Justice Ginsburg (with Breyer)

Schools are still heavily segregated, and these programs are necessary to remedy that.


The Constitution doesn’t prohibit a narrowly tailored use of race in admissions when used to further the compelling interest of obtaining a diverse student body.

The law school’s interest in obtaining a critical mass of minority students is indeed a tailored use. Such programs might not be needed in the future, but they are still needed now.

Race can’t be the only factor, but it can be plus factor in admissions, along with other factors.

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