Clarence Thomas’s Concurrence/Dissent in Grutter v. Bollinger
William M. Carter Jr.
University of Pittsburgh - School of Law
MILESTONE DOCUMENTS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY, p. 1740, Schlager Group, 2010
Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-36
In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court decided Grutter v. Bollinger, with the majority opinion sanctioning the use of affirmative action in higher education. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate opinion, concurring in part and dissenting in part from the Court’s judgment, in order to emphasize his view that government consideration of race for any purpose is unconstitutional. The case involved a challenge to the constitutionality of the University of Michigan Law School’s admission policies, under which the race of any applicant from a historically disadvantaged minority group was considered a “plus” factor in the evaluation of that applicant. The plaintiff, an unsuccessful white applicant, sued the law school, alleging that its use of such affirmative action in admissions violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause. The Court upheld the law school’s admission program, holding that institutions of higher education may consider an applicant’s race as one of many factors in a holistic, individualized assessment of each applicant in an effort to compose a diverse student body. Justice Thomas concurred in the majority’s reasoning that affirmative action programs should be viewed with suspicion, but he dissented from the Court’s holding that the law school’s admission program passed such heightened judicial scrutiny.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Justice Thomas, Grutter, Gratz, affirmative action, integration, segregation, racial discrimination, equal protection, Equal Protection Clause, stigma, equality, Adarand
JEL Classification: K00, K19, K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 23, 2011 ; Last revised: November 4, 2011
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