88. The U.S. Supreme Court Decisions of University    of Michigan

                   Japanese version, here
Shoji Sugita

   ・ Grutter v. Bollinger   University of Michigan Law School
   ・ Gratz v. Bollinger    University of Michigan

   In a 5-4 decision announced on June 23, 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the affirmative
 policy, Justice O'Connor's majority opinion held that the Constitution "does not prohibit the law
   school's narrowly tailored use of race in admission decisions", but struck down the undergraduate
points-base plan in 6-3 decision. The Court took the middle way with affirmative

   Some states may be forced to rethink policies that eliminate race as a factor in college admission
   following the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action.

   I have already described the outlines of the Decisions and have put them on my homepage(No. 87)
   in Japanese, but here I will decribe them in English as follows.

T Outlines of the Decisions
   The Court divided in both cases. It upheld the law school program that a "critical mass" of minorities
   by a 5-4 vote. And the Court split 6-3 in finding the undergraduate program unconstitional, for it sets
   no fixed target for the number of minority students who should get in, the point-base evaluation
   system gave minority applicants a 20-point boost, and they were categorized by race and African-
   American, Hispanic, and American-Indian applicants and were automatically granted 20-point
  bonuses to their selection scores on a scale of up to 150.

  ○ Grutter case
    United States District Court - Eastern District of Michigan, Filed March 27, 2001
    U.S. Court of Appeals - 6th Circuit, Filed: May 14, 2002
    United States Supreme Court, Cert. Granted: December 2, 2002
    United States Supreme Court, Decided: June 23, 2003

   In summary, the Equal Protection Clause does not prohibit the Law School's narrowly tailored use of race in
   admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a
   diverse student body.
on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the sixth circuit  

   Gratz case
    U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Michigan, Opinion, Filed: February 26, 2001
    U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Michigan, Order, Filed: February 26, 2001
    U.S. Court of Appeals - 6th Circuit, Order affirming stay of injunction, Filed: November 16, 2001
    United States Supreme Court, Cert. Before Judgment Granted: December 2, 2002
    United States Supreme Court, Decided: June 23, 2003

   We conclude, therefore, that because the University's use of race in its current freshman admissions policy is
   not narrowly tailored to achieve respondents' asserted compelling interest
in diversity, the admissions policy
   violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.22 We further find that the admissions
   policy also violates Title VI and 42 U. S. C. § 1981.23

   No. 02-516. Argued April 1, 2003

U Points of the Decisions Process
  ○ The Bakke decision (The University of California Affirmative) paved the way for widespread "Modernization"
    of university and graduate school affirmative action plans. Immediately after Bakke was handed down,
    many colleges and graduate schools modified their affirmative action plans to make them more like the
    "Harvard Plan" and less like U. C. Davis Medical School's.
    Thus, many schools eliminated rigid quotas and set-asides. They considered racial or ethnic
    diversity much as the would other subjective factors like geographical diversity, "legacy" status, life
    experience, particular talents, ideological perspectives, and the like.

  ○ Bush: Use of race in admission is "divisive". (The Washingto Post(1/16/2003)
    President Bush filed a brief with the Supreme Court denouncing affirmative action policies at the
    University of Michigan. Bush said affirmative action does not promote diversiy, rather, such policies
    "create annother wrong and thus perpetuate our divisions,"

  ○ From high-profile backers (The Boston Globe (2/18/2003)
    More than 300 organizations representing a broad spectrum of industries and about 30 of the nation's
    top military officials said they would file briefs with the U. S. Supreme Court supporting the University
    of Michigan's affirmative action is essential to creating diversity in the military and the the workforces.

V Key points
  ○ Race is a factor, but is it a positive factor for admission in higher education ?
    Should it be regarded as highly as high school grades, standardized test scores, high school
curriculum strength, geography, alumni relationships, leadership etc?
  ○ soft variables
  ○ less prominance
  ○ critical mass
    Not only minorities students, but white students, might benefit from the condition of "soft" factor:
    white student from a blue-collar background, for instance, might also be predicted to outperform
    his or her "hard number" as well as add diversity to the class.
  ○ Each student's academic strength, personal acievement and life experiences are given considerations,
    but the most overwhelming criteria used in making admission decisions are academic qualifications.
    But is there too much interest of diversity in society or even in higher educaton in the U. S.?

   Japan, fortunately or unfortunately, is like a homo-racial country, so the most
   overwhelming criteria used in higher education admissions are academic quafications etc.

W Other admission policies
   I accept the following admission policies.
  ○ For example, states like Texas (Texa's 10% Plan) and Florida have adopted a law mandating that
    the top students at every state high school be admitted to their state universities. The idea behind
    these laws is that for instance, a high total number of black students will be admitted to state colleges,
    because a certain number of slots for students from every high school-including predominantly black high
    school- will be guaranteed.

  ○ Boston diversity and admissions- A new policy    In 1996, the District adopted a new
    admission policy that permits students to apply to one or more of the three examination schools and
    become part of the applicant pool for each school to which the student had applied.
    To be eligible for admission to an examinations schools, a student must rank in the top half of the
    applicant pool for that school. The rest of the applicants are assigned according to composite score
    rank in proportion to racial and ethnic mix of the school's remaining applicant pool, using the U. S.
    Department of Education Office or Civil Rights' five racial and ethnic categories: white, black, Hispanic,
    Asian and Native American. The Boston School Committee calls this formula "flexible racial/ ethnic
    guidelines. (American School Board. Feb.2003)

 Comment (My consideration)
    For the admission decision in higher education, qualification should be the most important
    factor, and the narrowly tailored use of race should be allowed with the Equal protection Clause.
    Perhaps we should consider race as much as other factors like geographical diversity, "legal" status,
    life experience, paticular talents, ideological perspectives, etc. In K-12 grade, race should be
    considered a little more than in higher education's, and Texa's 10% Plan and Boston's Admission Plan
    would be acceptable to coincide with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  Described on July 2, 2003