Gratz .v Bollinger


Gratz v. Bollinger is a United Supreme court case that occurred in the year 2003. This case regards the University of Michigan’s policy of Undergraduate affirmative action. The decision of this court got initiated by Chief Justice Rehnquist. He ruled that the University system used In the University of Michigan, which allocated the points of Joining the University while they also awarded 20 points to the Underrepresented areas, was practicing at the breach of the constitution when the system assessed the diversity of Applicants. This ruling was made with a reason to counter racism in Universities of the United Sates during their admissions. This essay critically discuses the Gratz v. Bollinger case on affirmative action policy for admissions in the University of Michigan. The paper has also mentioned the cases that followed after this major case.

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Case Analysis

The University of Michigan had used 150 points to rank the applicants who could join the University at that time. On the same note, 100 points guaranteed admission in the University. The issue that raised concern, in this case, is the fact that the University gave underrepresented ethnic groups a 20 points bonus during this intake. The perfect SAT score used during the admissions to the University is worth 12 points. The ethnic communities that enjoyed the bonus given by the University of Michigan Included Hispanics, Native Americans and African Americans. The petitioners, in this case, are Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher. These two were both white residents living in Michigan. The University of Michigan college of Literature, Science and Arts (LSA), were the department which both applicants had dropped their applications. Both of these applicants did not get a chance at the University of Michigan. The center for Individual Rights in the United States contacted the plaintiffs of this case, and they filed a case on their behalf on 1997. The case got filed at the United States District court at the Eastern District of Michigan (Mydal 1944). The case got filed against James Duderstadt who was the president of Michigan in 1997 when Hamacher applied to Join Michigan University. The second person held answerable by this case is Lee Bollinger who was the president during the time that time that Gratz had applied to join the University of Michigan, the tear 1995. The allegations of the lawsuit were that the two former presidents of the University of Michigan had violated the rights of the plaintiffs in this case and the class they represent. This was a breach of the Law of the United States, under the Fourteenth Amendment. They also received allegations of racial discrimination against them. This is because Hamacher and Bollinger were both whites and that is the reason their applications did not get considered.

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Jennifer Gratz applied for the University with an adjusted GPA of 3.8 and an ACT score of 25. This shows that Jennifer Gratz had attained the cutoff point used for admission at Michigan University in 1995. Gratz’s co-plaintiff, Patrick Hamacher had a GPA of 4.0 and an ACT score of 28. They were both denied admissions to join the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan openly accepts that it uses race as a factor in making decisions during admissions. According to the defense of the University of Michigan in this case, race is a compelling interest in achieving diversity in the University (Cohen 2003). The provision of the directly approved the applications from the three aforementioned racial groups in the United States occurred to achieve diversity among the students body. This is because these three races got a consideration to be under represented in the campus at that time. Having considered the circumstances surrounding this case, the district court concluded that diversity was a compelling interest at the University of Michigan between the years 1995-1998. The decision of the court was that the plaintiffs of this case were not narrowly tailored by the policies arrived at by the University of Michigan upon rejection of their admission, even after they had met the required qualifications (Tucker 2000). The judgment made at the district court held that the use of racial preferences by the University of Michigan during admissions is not a violation of the Equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The plaintiffs of this case appealed their case to the Supreme Court in the search for justice. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was the Supreme Court judge who made the final decision in this case. His decision held that the use of racial preferences during the admissions of students in the University of Michigan violates both Title VI and the equal protection clause. Chief Justice William argued that race cannot be used as a tool to constitute diversity in the school. The ruling made by Chief Justice William reasoned that the distribution of 20 points by default during the freshman admissions is not narrowly tailored to achieve the compelling interests of racial diversity for the admissions in the University of Michigan. The issues of standing surrounding this case show that the plaintiff, Jennifer Gratz lacked the legal standing to develop the action of this case. It appeared that Gratz should not have petitioned against being discriminated against by the points system used in Michigan because she declined the offer from the University to be placed in the waiting list. Also, her application occurred on 1995 which was three years before the University had adopted the points system for the admission of the freshmen in the University (U. S. Supreme Court 1952).

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Related Cases

The cases that followed the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Gratz v. Bollinger are the Gutter v. Bollinger and Regents v. Bakke. The Grutter v. Bollinger is a case that whose ruling was arrived at the United States Supreme court. The decision in this case got initiated by at by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. When Barbara Grutter was denied admission in the law suit at Michigan, she filed a case against the respondents with allegations of getting discriminated against because of race. The regent v. Bakke, on the other hand, was a decision of the Supreme Court also regarding the admissions policy at the University of California. The University of California set aside 16 out of the 100 available positions for the black Chicanos, American Indians and the Asians (U. S. Supreme Court 1952).


From the foregoing, racism has been so vivid during the admissions of the United States Universities. As a result, the Gratz v. Bollinger ruling against the use of race as a factor of demining the number of people to be admitted into the Universities in the United States has been used as a precedent for the cases that followed and had a similar nature. Perhaps possible changes should be made into the American constitution so that they can allow cases related to polices used in the admissions into Universities to be heard by the Board of Education. Also, this essay has established the fact that the fourteenth Amendment of the United States laws and its importance to have an education system that does not have racial discrimination. Therefore, there is a need to establish diversity in the United States public Universities without the use of racial discrimination. The harmonization in Public Universities in the United States, which came with the ruling of the Gratz v. Bollinger, is a fundamental aspect of shaping equality of all races during the intake in schools and universities.

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