Racial discrimination is not a permissible solution to the self-inflicted wounds of this elitist admissions policy. Unlike a clear constitutional holding that racial preferences in state educational institutions are impermissible, or even a clear anticonstitutional holding that racial preferences in state educational institutions are OK, today's Grutter-Gratz split double header seems perversely designed to prolong the controversy and the litigation. Rather, the policy seeks to guide admissions officers in "producing classes both diverse and academically outstanding, classes made up of students who promise to continue the tradition of outstanding contribution by Michigan Graduates to the legal profession." See Sweatt v. Painter, supra, at 634. With these principles in mind, we turn to the question whether the Law Schools use of race is justified by a compelling state interest. Context matters when reviewing race-based governmental action under the Equal Protection Clause. The Law School does neither. Nor is the policy "insensitive to the competition among all students for admission to the [L]aw [S]chool." . In the context of higher education, the durational requirement can be met by sunset provisions in race-conscious admissions policies and periodic reviews to determine whether racial preferences are still necessary to achieve student body diversity. By this. See, e. g., Wygant v. Jackson Bd.
Id., at 118-119. It remains to point out how critical mass becomes inconsistent with individual consideration in some more specific aspects of the admissions process. We find that the Law School's admissions program bears the hallmarks of a narrowly tailored plan. It is far from certain that the LSAT test-taker's behavior is responsive to the Law School's admissions policies. The Law School has offered no explanation for its actual admissions practices and, unexplained, we are bound to conclude that the Law School has managed its admissions program, not to achieve a "critical mass," but to extend offers of admission to members of selected minority groups in proportion to their statistical representation in the applicant pool. Post, at 3 (dissenting opinion). Ibid.
The bonus factor of race would then become divorced from individual review; it would be premised instead on the numerical objective set by the Law School. We do not find it necessary to decide whether Justice Powell's opinion is binding under Marks. Nor, as Justice Kennedy posits, does the Law Schools consultation of the daily reports, which keep track of the racial and ethnic composition of the class (as well as of residency and gender), suggest[ ] there was no further attempt at individual review save for race itself during the final stages of the admissions process. 11-13 (Feb. 10, 2001).
Id., at 208a-209a. But the divergence between the percentages of underrepresented minorities in the applicant pool and in the enrolled classes is not the only relevant comparison. In sum, the Law School trains few Michigan residents and overwhelmingly serves students, who, as lawyers, leave the State of Michigan. 2002) (hereinafter College Admissions Data Handbook).
43. Instead, it may consider race or ethnicity only as a plus in a particular applicants file; i.e., it must be flexible enough to consider all pertinent elements of diversity in light of the particular qualifications of each applicant, and to place them on the same footing for consideration, although not necessarily according them the same weight, id., at 317.
In reviewing an applicant's file, admissions officials must consider the applicant's undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score because they are important (if imperfect) predictors of academic success in law school. Nor is the policy insensitive to the competition among all students for admission to the [L]aw [S]chool. Ibid. of State of N. Y., 385 U. S., at 603. §1977, as amended, 42 U.S.C. See Bakke, supra, at 287 (opinion of Powell, J.) This is not to suggest the faculty at Michigan or other law schools do not pursue aspirations they consider laudable and consistent with our constitutional. Ibid. Access to legal education (and thus the legal profession) must be inclusive of talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity, so that all members of our heterogeneous society may participate in the educational institutions that provide the training and education necessary to succeed in America.
Ibid. Lempert acknowledged that other groups, such as Asians and Jews, have experienced discrimination, but explained they were not mentioned in the policy because individuals who are members of those groups were already being admitted to the Law School in significant numbers.
by Theodore M. Shaw, Norman J. Chachkin, Robert H. Stroup, Elise C. Boddie, and Christopher A. Hansen; for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing by John T. Affeldt and Mark Savage; for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America et al. Four other Justices would have struck the program down on statutory grounds.
Focusing on students' academic ability coupled with a flexible assessment of their talents, experiences, and potential, the policy requires admissions officials to evaluate each applicant based on all the information available in the file, including a personal statement, letters of recommendation, an essay describing how the applicant will contribute to Law School life and diversity, and the applicant's undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score. In this respect the Law School program compares unfavorably with the experience of Little Ivy League colleges. Upon the unanimous adoption of the committee's report by the Law School faculty, it became the Law School's official admissions policy.
The Court, in an unprecedented display of deference under our strict scrutiny analysis, upholds the Law School's program despite its obvious flaws. That is, a racial classification is only constitutional if it is narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest.
For this reason, the diffusion of knowledge and opportunity through public institutions of higher education must be accessible to all individuals regardless of race or ethnicity. Harvard certainly had minimum goals for minority enrollment, even if it had no specific number firmly in mind. Nor does the Constitution countenance the unprecedented deference the Court gives to the Law School, an approach inconsistent with the very concept of "strict scrutiny.".
All members of our heterogeneous society must have confidence in the openness and integrity of the educational institutions that provide this training. By enrolling a critical mass of [underrepresented] minority students, the Law School seeks to ensur[e] their ability to make unique contributions to the character of the Law School. Id., at 120121.
16 I use the LSAT as an example, but the same incentive structure is in place for any admissions criteria, including undergraduate grades, on which minorities are consistently admitted at thresholds significantly lower than whites. In that case, the Court held that state statutes and regulations designed to prevent the "appointment or retention of 'subversive' persons in state employment," 385 U. S., at 592, violated the First Amendment for vagueness. Race-based action necessary to further a compelling governmental interest does not violate the Equal Protection Clause so long as it is narrowly tailored to further that interest.
for Cert. What the Equal Protection Clause does prohibit are classifications made on the basis of race. The Law School tantalizes unprepared students with the promise of a University of Michigan degree and all of the opportunities that it offers. Harvard certainly had minimum goals for minority enrollment, even if it had no specific number firmly in mind. If properly considered an "educational benefit" at all, it is surely not one that is either uniquely relevant to law school or uniquely "teachable" in a formal educational setting.
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