To access this feature, please Log In or Register for your Casebriefs Account.

Add to Library




Grutter v. Bollinger

Citation. 539 U.S. 306, 123 S.Ct. 2325, 156 L.Ed.2d 304 (2003).

Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiff was denied admissions to law school and sued, arguing the law school’s use of race in determining admittances was unconstitutional.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions.


Plaintiff applied to Defendant’s law school with a 3.8 GPA and 161 LSAT score. The law school rejected her applications and she sued, alleging unlawful race discrimination. Extensive testimony in the lower court showed that there was no number, percentage, or range that constituted critical mass, but that without considering race as a factor, there would be a negative effect on underrepresented minority admissions.


Whether diversity is a compelling interest that can justify the narrowly tailored use of race in selecting applicants for admission to public universities.


Yes. Diversity is a compelling interest that can justify the narrowly tailored use of race in selecting applicants for admission to public universities.


Justice Rehnquist

The means are not narrowly tailored to the interest Defendant asserts and is the very type of behavior forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause. This is a naked effort to achieve racial balancing.

Justice Kennedy

If universities are given the latitude to administer programs that are tantamount to quotas, they will have few incentives to make the existing minority admissions schemes transparent and protective of individual review. The unhappy consequence will be to perpetuate the hostilities that proper consideration of race is designed to avoid.

Justice Scalia

The admissions statistics show this is a sham to cover a scheme of racially proportionate admissions. The law school’s justification challenges even the most gullible mind.

Justice Thomas

I believe Black scan achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators. Racial discrimination is not a permissible solution to the self-inflicted wounds of this elitist administration policy. Marginal improvements in legal education do not qualify as a compelling state interest.


Justice Ginsburg

It remains the current reality that many minority students encounter markedly inadequate and unequal educational opportunities. One may hope over the next generation’s span, progress toward nondiscrimination and genuinely equal opportunity will make it safe to sunset affirmative action.


Context matters when reviewing race-based governmental action under the Equal Protection Clause. Not every decision influenced by race is equally objectionable. Our conclusion that the law school has a compelling interest in a diverse student body is informed by our view that attaining a diverse student body is at the heart of the law school’s proper institutional mission. Good faith is presumed absent a showing to the contrary.

Additionally, a diverse classroom creates livelier, more spirited discussion. Numerous studies show that student body diversity promotes learning outcomes and better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society. Law schools, in particular, are training the next generation of leaders. Alternatives to the policy would require a dramatic sacrifice of diversity. Judgement affirmed.

Create New Group

Casebriefs is concerned with your security, please complete the following