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Gratz v. Bollinger

United States Supreme Court
539 U.S. 244 (2003)


Facts

Gratz and Hamacher (plaintiffs), both Caucasians, applied for admission to the University of Michigan’s undergraduate program. Both were denied admission and filed suit in federal district court against Bollinger (defendant), a University of Michigan administrator, seeking to challenge the University’s admissions policy on the grounds that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The challenged policy ranked applicants on a 150 point scale that accorded different point values to factors such as grade point average, test results, and personal achievements. However, an applicant automatically received twenty bonus points if he or she was a member of an underrepresented minority group, attended a predominantly minority or disadvantaged high school, or was recruited for athletics. Some applicants were flagged for additional personal consideration, but most were admitted solely based on the point system. The district court found that Bollinger violated Gratz and Hamacher’s right to nondiscriminatory treatment and issued an injunction prohibiting continued use of the admissions policy. The court of appeals reversed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence (O’Connor, J.)

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Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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