All Things Reconsidered: "An Introspective Look at the University of Michigan Law School Admission Policies"

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Gardiner, John David
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The public outcry at the culmination of the Presidential Election of 2000 targeted virtually all aspects of American democracy including the United States Supreme Court, a branch that has traditionally sought to keep itself above the political fray. However, if the decision handed down in Bush vs. Gore proved anything it may simply have been a bold statement by the Rehnquist Court. The "conservative" oriented simple majority of Supreme Court Justices will no longer avert highly contested issues. Nothing is sacred from this new kind of original intent judicial review. As political and controversial as Bush vs. Gore was, the looming docket for the 2003 Supreme Court sessions offers several even more highly volatile case options. One such issue, which in the eyes of many can no longer afford to be ignored, is the issue of affirmative action. Affirmative action as it was deemed by then President John F. Kennedy, and defined for the purposes of this paper as "all policies that take positive steps to award educational opportunities or jobs to racial minorities or women because these groups have suffered from prior discrimination." Racial preference initiatives have for over twenty-five years sought to pick up where quotas left off, following the Supreme Court decision of 1978 in University of California Regents vs. Bakke. Currently affirmative action practices have been banned at the state level in California, Texas, Washington, Georgia and Florida. This paper has three central objectives. First, it describes the current University of Michigan Law School admissions policy. Second, it details the arguments and rebuttals pertaining to the key players on both sides of this debate. Last, it concludes, that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which ruled in favor of permitting the University of Michigan Law School's admissions policies, is merited. Largely because it is a ruling most consistent with the tenants established in the U. S. Supreme Court ruling in the University of California Board of Regents vs. Bakke, the only Supreme Court ruling on the subject of affirmative action based college admissions. I suggest that, though affirmative action has been in place throughout my lifetime, it has yet to be understood by either its recipients as well as its opponents. After the excessive, prescriptive research on the affirmative action issue, it is time to create a blended descriptive/prescriptive research paper that fully explains a program currently under duress. Specifically I'm referring to the University of Michigan Law School and its controversial admission policies and the subsequent legal dispute, Grutter vs. Bollinger.
35 p.
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