The Eighteenth Annual Supreme Court Review Conference

October 4, 2013

Professor Leora Harpaz

Western New England University School of Law

Affirmative Action Returns to School



Principal Cases
  1. Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 133 S. Ct. 2411 (June 24, 2013)(7-1) (reviewing Court of Appeals decision dismissing Equal Protection Clause challenge to University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action admissions plan using race as a plus factor and vacating the decision and remanding for reconsideration because Fifth Circuit did not apply the proper strict scrutiny standard in upholding admissions process).

  2. Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, 701 F.3d 466 (6th Cir. 2012), cert. granted, 133 S. Ct. 1633 (2013)(to be argued on October 15, 2013) (Supreme Court agreeing to review a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which struck down an amendment to the Michigan Constitution that prohibited all race-conscious admissions policies in its state university system because the amendment violated the political process rights of racial minorities under the Equal Protection Clause by placing special burdens on racial minorities)
Additional Cases
  1. Gatz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003) (6-3) (invalidating University of Michigan undergraduate admissions plan as violative of the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause because it awarded a specific number of points to applications of underrepresented racial minorities rather than evaluating each application holistically).

  2. Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003) (5-4) (upholding University of Michigan Law School admissions plan which takes race into account in order to accomplish the compelling objective of student body diversity because it considers each application holistically and treats race as a plus factor in evaluating the applications of underrepresented racial minorities rather than assigning race a set number of points in the application process).

  3. Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 305 (1978) (opinion of Powell, J.) (striking down medical school admissions program which set aside 16 seats for racial minorities, but upholding ability of universities to use more narrowly tailored race-conscious means to achieve the compelling objective of student body diversity).


Sponsored by the Law School's Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs


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