The Supreme Court Rulings in Grutter v.Bollinger and Gratz v.Bollinger: The Brave New World of Affirmative Action in the 21st Century

Source: Robert K. Robinson, Ph.D., SPHR, Geralyn McClure Franklin, Ph.D., and Karen Epermanis, Ph.D., Public Personnel Management, Volume 36, No. 1, Spring 2007
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On June 23, 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a five to four decision, substantially altered the nature of state imposed affirmative action permissible under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when it held that diversity could serve as a compelling government interest, thus justifying public sector preferential programs. Though this ruling pertained specifically to race-based preferential university admissions, it is likely to have wide ranging implications for all public sector affirmative action programs. One implication may include making it easier to justify state initiated affirmative action by diminishing the requirement to demonstrate the remedial motive behind such action. This article discusses the impact that the Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger decisions are likely to have on preferential admissions policies in public higher education.

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