Part I: Regents of the University of California v. Bakke In this landmark judgment, Supreme Court of the United States made its decision on affirmative action. . It prohibits the existence of quota systems in U. S college admissions but confirms the legality of affirmative action programs thereby giving a benefit to minorities. Aggrieved by the action of university in rejecting his application for college admission, Bakke, a white applicant moved the court to instruct the university to admit him.
Minority students were able to get admission though they got less than his mark under special program despite of the fact that he had scored 468 out of 500. He contended that special admission program had excluded him to avail education benefits on the footing of his race which contravenes the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The trial court held that plaintiff should not cite race as reason in making admission decisions and respondent was failed to advance adequate proof that he would have got admission but for the existence special education program.
However, California Supreme Court held that special education program did violate the Equal Protection Clause and ordered the university to grant admission to Bakke. Justice Lewis Powell was of the view that quota system protected minority applicants from cut throat competition with the white students and hence it was unlawful since they differentiated against regular applicants. However, Justice Powell held that Universities could employ race as a plus factor. In a vote of 5-4, it was finally ordered that admission was to be granted to Bakke in the medical school at Davis.
Grutter v. Bollinger Barbara Grutter, a white from Michigan, in 1997, sought for admission to the University of Michigan Law School. She was refused admission as the Law School acknowledged that it exercised race as a determinant in concluding decisions for admissions since it acted as a "compelling interest in attaining diversity among its student community. " The Court of Appeals reversed by concluding that Justice Powell's judgment in “Regents of the University of California v.
Bakke”, comprised a bonding precedent constituting diversity as a persuading governmental interest which is sufficient under strict scrutiny appraisal to substantiate the employment of racial preferences especially in admissions to educational institutions. The appellate court also turned down the district court's conclusion that the Law School's "critical mass" was the functional akin of a quota. The main issue in this case was that whether the University of Michigan Law School's use of racial preferences in admission of students infringes the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment or Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
The Court answer for this was negative. The Equal Protection Clause does not forbid the Law School's intently personalized use of race in college admissions decisions to advance a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that emanate from a diverse student community. Gratz v. Bollinger This is a lawsuit initiated to confront a race-conscious admissions policy being practiced at the University of Michigan. The plaintiffs Gratz are two white applicants who were deprived of admission to the College.
They contend that the College's admissions policy infringes the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, The plaintiffs sought penal and compensatory damages, injunctive relief restricting continuance of the supposed discriminatory admissions process. The plaintiffs further contended that University may not sufficiently symbolize their concern in educational opportunity. The district court refused to entertain their motion for intervention as of their privilege, viewing that the plaintiffs did not hold a significant interest in the litigation and that the University could adequately represent the proposed minority’s' interests.
The Supreme Court held that interveners are permitted to interfere as of right and the district court's decision in these cases refusing the motion for intervention as of right cannot be sustained. PART II: In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case, Justice Lewis Powell was of the view that quota system protected minority applicants from cut throat competition with the white students and hence it was unlawful since they differentiated against regular applicants. However, Justice Powell held that Universities could employ race as a plus factor.
However, there were split opinion in the above case and it had resulted in a debate whether Powell’s opinion was really binding. In Grutter v. Bollinger and in Gratz v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court confirmed the Powell’s opinion. However, in Gratz v. Bollinger some vital guiding principles were framed to safeguard justice and “narrow couture” in college admissions. First of all, an admissions strategy must not depend on separate quotas or tracks that shield racial minorities from competitive evaluation.
Secondly, race must be counted as one among many factors which being evaluated in a competitive process that appraises the specific qualifications of each individual applicant. The dual Michigan rulings assert both the value of positive diversity mandates and policies that such policies do not unconstitutionally worsen University standards.
PART III: It is to be observed that the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution forbids governmental bias on racial basis, the Supreme Court has allowed the use of race as a cause when it satisfies a compelling government interest and is intently customized to achieve that interest.
In Grutter v. Bollinger case, the Court was of the view that notwithstanding the University of Michigan's undergraduate admissions program, the Law School has not granted just “mechanical, predetermined diversity ‘bonuses’ based on ethnicity or race. ” Thus, Supreme Court held that Law School’s practice of race in college admission decision is not barred by Equal Protection Clause and however, this should fall under Justice Powell view that Universities could employ race as a plus factor.