The Story of Grutter V. Bollinger: Affirmative Action Wins

25 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2006 Last revised: 6 May 2009

See all articles by Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2006


Part of the Education Law Stories, this book chapter tells the story behind Grutter v. Bollinger. In the 1990s, public opinion and court opinions seemed to signal a death knell for affirmative action. Yet, reports of its death proved exaggerated. In Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court affirmed that diversity could be a legally legitimate rationale for affirmative action, and validated Michigan's approach to deciding who gets admitted to its law school. Further, state law prohibitions on race-based affirmative action have come to a standstill. This manuscript tells the story of why affirmative action survived - at least for now. The story takes us not just to why Barbara Grutter never attended law school, but also to the students who benefited from race-conscious admissions. On a larger scale, the story is one of diversity gathering public support, and the Supreme Court constitutionalizing that public acceptance and allowing voluntary integration. Yet, the story also raises the possibility that diversity's survival will prove transitory.

Keywords: Affirmative Action, Diversity, Grutter

JEL Classification: J70, J71

Suggested Citation

Parker, Wendy, The Story of Grutter V. Bollinger: Affirmative Action Wins (September 1, 2006). Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Wendy Parker (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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