Grutter v. Bollinger and Affirmitive Action

Grutter v. Bollinger (Barbara Grutter, petitioner V. Lee Bollinger [University of Michigan Law School]) was a United States Supreme Court case that took place in 2003. The case was aimed towards the University's policy towards affirmitive action.

The University of Michigan was being sued by Barbara Grutter, a student with a 3.8 GPA and a 161 LSAT score who was rejected because of her race. But surprise, she was white. The school stated that they seeked to form a more diverse student body, so they accepted students from minority groups with a significantly higher rate.

This case calls into question the rights of a university or other organization to discriminate any person because of their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality for any particular reason, and also calls into question weather discrimination against a majority group for any specific reason is still discrimination.

The Supreme Court ruled with a 5-4 majority in favor of Bollinger, citing that a race conscious admissions process favoring groups that may feel underrepresented is not unconstitutional, however if there had been a quota as to how many minorities the university needed to accept, it would have been.

The Supreme Court cited the fourteenth amendment in the United States constitution, which entails citizenship, equal rights, and equal representation. Amendment fourteen has also been used in cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Bush v. Gore, and was even used by the Supreme Court to overrule Dred Scott v. Sanford.

In November 2006, Michigan's Proposal 2 passed, making it illegal for any law university to use race as a factor in their admissions process.

Admittedly, Grutter v. Bollinger did not have a huge impact, as it was practically overturned by the state of Michigan three years later. However, it is important for students to know about this case and cases similar to this, as they should know their rights as students and the admissions process of whatever school they may apply to.


O'’Connor. "GRUTTER V. BOLLINGER." GRUTTER V. BOLLINGER. Cornell University, 23 June 2003. Web. 04 Dec. 2016.

United States. "14th Amendment." LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2016.


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