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June 24, 2003 - Image 1

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-06-24

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Tuesday f r 4 a ~ i
©2003 The Michigan Daily bAi
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Vol. CXIV, No. 142 One hundred twelve years of editoralfreedom www.michgandaly.com

Supreme Court upholds a irmative action, rects point s

By Jeremy Berkowitz The two judgments, which gave the Univer-
and Tomislav Ladika sity guidelines for how race can be used in its
Daily StaffReporters admissions systems, were the culmination of
the six-year legal battle between the University
WASHINGTON - Considering a college and the rejected white applicants who sued it.
applicant's race is constitutional, the Supreme The court accepted the University's argu-
Court ruled in a 5-4 decision yesterday. ment that the need for a diverse student
But in a 6-3 vote, it struck down the Col- body justified affirmative action.
lege of Literature, Science and the Arts' The scene outside the courtroom was
policy of granting points for race. reminiscent of the one two months ago,
'U' wins
in Law
By Jeremy Berkowitz
Daily Staff Reporter_

when oral arguments were heard in Grutter
v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger.
Civil rights leaders and University officials
held impromptu press conferences expressing
their delight. University students and alumni liv-
ing in Washington D. C. for the summer gathered
to find outabout the decision and some waited in
long lines to obtain copies of the opinions.
"This is a victory today," said Theodore
Shaw, associate director-counsel of the

National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People. "This leaves the doors
of opportunity for minority students."
The decision was fortunate, given the current
conservative makeup of the court, he said.
Seven of the nine justices received their
appointments from Republican presidents.
Writing for the majority in the Law School
case, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the
need for diversity iustifies using race as an

WASHINGTON - The lingering
presence of former Supreme Court
Justice Lewis Powell could be felt yes-
terday morning as his protege, Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor, read the deci-
sion upholding the University's Law
School admissions policies in Grutter
v. Bollinger.
In a 5-4 decision, the court
upheld the Law School's policies
that consider race as one of many
admissions factors in an individual-
ized review process without giving
race a specific point value.
Powell, like O'Connor today, was
known for his pragmatic and centrist
views during his 15-year tenure on the
court. He wrote in his landmark sole
opinion in the 1978 case Regents of the
University of California v. Bakke that
race could be used strictly as a "plus
factor" in college admissions. Cedric Deleon and oth
Powell's decision acted as precedent struck down the LSA
for the court's latest decision.
"It's very similar to Bakke, Univer-
sity of Texas law Prof. Douglas Lay-
cock said. "It basically reaffirms S tU C
Bakke. ... People won't be able to
claim that there have been more deci-1
sions that outdate it."
Some justices who supported affir-
mative action in other settings sid USC
could be used to remedy past discrimi-
nation, hence drawing more con-
tentious arguments from conservatives. By James Koivunen
But O'Connor, along with Justices and Samantha Woll
David Souter, Stephen Breyer, John Daily Staff Reporters
Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Gins-
burg, stressed with careful language Yesterday's mut
that those past decisions by the court Supreme Court deci
may not apply in the same way to high- the end and the be
er education institutions. student marches, pei
"It is true that some language in debates surrounding
those opinions might be read to issue of affirmative
suggest remedying past discrimina- versity's admissions
tion is the only permissible justifi- The split decis
'cation for race-based governmental array of student be
action," O'Connor wrote. pus with strong s
"But we have never held that the sides of this issue -
only governmental use of race that can undecided and con
survive strict scrutiny is remedying Supreme Court's de
past discrimination. Nor, since Bakke, The key compone
have we directly addressed the use of split decision was
race in the context of public higher both the College o
education. Today, we hold that the Law ence and the Arts
School has a compelling interest in cases race was cot
attaining a diverse student body." legitimate factor in
O'Connor upheld Powell's 25- policies. Many Uni
year-old assertion that diversity is a regardless of their s
versity's current ad
See LAW SCHOOL, Page 2 support the idea tha

sions factor, thus rejecting the claims
by the plaintiffs that race should never be
lered as an admissions factor.
cause universities, and in particular
hools, represent the training ground
large number of the nation's leaders :.
.th to leadership must be visibly open
ented and qualified individuals of
race and ethnicity," her opinion states:
See COURT, Page T
LSA told
to alter
By Tomislav Ladika
Daily Staff Reporter
Although the racial plus factor used
by the College of Literature, Sciencea
and the Arts' admissions policy brings
an underrepresented minority appli-
cant with a 3.0 grade point average to
the level of a white candidate with a
4.0 GPA, the U.S. Supreme Court did
not rule that granting too many points
for race was the LSA's primary consti-
tutional fault.
Instead, the court found that the
LSA policy - which grants 20
points for race out of a possible 150
- is unconstitutional because it
grants the same number of points to
each underrepresented minority,
without considering the applicant's
contribution to diversity individually.
Throughout the court's majority
opinion in the LSA case, Cheif Justice
William Rehnquist referred to the 1978
Regents of the University of Cafornia
v. Bakke decision, and Justice Lewis
Powell's opinion in the case, as prece-
dent. In that ruling - the court's last
statement on race-conscious admis,
sions before yesterday's ruling - the
court banned racial quotas, but Powell
wrote that race could be used as one of
many admissions factors.
Such racial plus factors could only
be justified in the most limited circum-
stances, Powell wrote. To pass the
court's strict scrutiny of their policies,
schools had to prove that their goal in
using race was a compelling state inter-
est and that their policies were narrow-
ly tailored to meet that need.
While the court accepted the Univer-
sity's rationale that the need for a
diverse academic environment is such
a state interest, a majority of the jus-
tices concluded that the LSA policy
was not narrowly tailored. The LSA
policy automatically grants each
underrepresented minority a set
amount of points just because of their
race, the Rehnquist opinion states.
"The admissions program Justice
Powell described did not contemplate
that any single characteristic automati-
cally ensured a specific and identifi-
able contribution to a university's
diversity," Rehnquist wrote.
In the ruling, the court did not
directly declare point systems uncon-
stitutional. The LSA policy was over-
turned because it does not consider
how much each individual applicant
contributes to diversity, both through
See LSA, Page 7

her members of Students Supporting Affirmative Action celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court rulings yesterday during a rally on the Diag. The court
admissions system but upheld the Law School system, affirming that race can be considered in college admissions.
lendddts dividedover methods,
Sachieve diverse campus
is a compelling state interest. Inside: The campus right and left weigh in on the court's decisions. Page 20.
Mathematics doctoral candidate

ch awaited U.S.
sion marked both
ginning of many
titions, rallies and
the controversial
action in the Uni-
ion reflects the
iefs across cam-
upport for both
- and many still
fused about the
ent of the court's
the fact that in
f Literature, Sci-
and Law School
nsidered to be a
their admissions
iversity students,
tance on the Uni-
missions system
at racial diversity

Jared Maruskin agreed that diversity there aren't really that many African
is important and does have an effect-Americans or minorities in general in
on students, even on those who are the law 'schools."
unaware of it. LSA junior Danny Huerta cited
"I've had friends who have said that existing social imperfections as
diversity doesn't really affect me, that rationale enough for affirmative
people still stay in their action.
groups," Maruskin said. SSIONS "At a school like this
"But it's very important you want to have diver-
even if we just see peo- sity, and it happens that
ple from all sorts of in today's world under-
cultures and back- represented minorities
grounds represented don't have their chance
here," he continued. necessarily because
"It does have an they can't pay for SAT
effect, even though classes or they don't go
some people might not to such great schools,"
be conscious of that he said.
effect," Maruskin said. Kelly Jones, a first-
Engineering senior Kavon Stewart year graduate student in the School
also agreed with the court's ruling on of Education, agreed that certain
the importance of diversity. races are specifically disadvantaged
"I'm happy they decided to consid- and said that "because of the
er race as an issue in the law schools, inequity that there is for certain
because when you think about it, groups of people, there has to be

some way to make up for that."
However, Jones and felLtw. stu-
dents, while understanding thtsneed
for current race-conscious policies,
have concerns about instituting a per-
manent affirmative action policy.
"I believe it needs to start at the
grade school and high school levels
and that we shouldn't have to do
this at college, but right now we
need to," she added.-
While many agree that racial
diversity is an important concern
for the University, economic diver-
sity is also an important concern
that many feel is overlooked. -
"I think that seeking diversity
should be a factor in admissions, and
racial diversity is certainly a kind of
diversity. I'd also like to see economic
diversity," said Rackham student
Sarah Nuss-Warren.
LSA junior Sam Botsford said that
although he supports affirmative
See STUDENTS, Page 20

"Today, we hold that the Law School "Clearly, the LSA' system does not ofer
has a compellig interest in attaiig a appliants the individualizedselection
diverse student ody." process described in Harvard's example."
-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -Chief Justice William Rehnquist

b Full text of the Supreme Court's opinions
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote
for the majority of the court, but every justice contributed to the barrage
of concurring and dissenting opinions handed down yesterday.
Pages 9-19.

Declaring victory
After years of legal battles, University
administrators claim victory - and say it won't be
hard to reformulate undergraduate admissions.
Page 2.

In-depth analysis
A variety of writers and contributors share their feelings
on yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
Pages 4,5.

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