instructions in 1997 a white resident of the state of michigan barbara
In 1997, a white resident of the State of Michigan, Barbara Grutter, applied for admission to the University of
Michigan Law School. Although she had an undergraduate GPA of 3.8 and a score of 161 on the Law School
Admission Test, she was denied admission. At the time of her application the law school used many factors in
making offers of admission. These included undergraduate GPA, test schools, and letters of recommendation.
The law school also considered an applicant's race. The law school considered race as a factor until it achieved a
"critical mass of qualified minority students. The school asserted that it had a compelling government interest in
its desire to achieve a diverse student body and that a "critical mass" was not a quota of minority students that
was prohibited by prior Supreme Court decisions. Grutter filed suit claiming that her rights had been violated
under the U.S. Constitution.
In the case of Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) the Supreme Court held the there was no violation of the Constitution or
applicable federal law. In its opinion, the court held that diversity is a compelling government interest that the law
school may pursue. This is because a diverse student body enhances the educational experience of all students
at the institution. Further, one of the missions of the law school is to train future leaders. If the doors of the law
school were only open to white students, the legitimacy of these leaders would be undermined. The law school's
preference for a "critical mass of minority students does not constitute a numerical quota that is prohibited by
1. Identify the constitutional clause that is common to both Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) and Brown v. Board of
2. Based on the constitutional clause identified in part A, explain why the facts of Brown v. Board of Education
led to a different holding than the holding in Grutter v. Bollinger.
3. Describe an action that Congress, if it disagreed with the decision, could take to nullify the precedent.
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