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12-682 bsac THE SOCIETY OF AMERICAN LAW TEACHERS
Summary of Argument
In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in Grutter the use of race-conscious admissions programs in public higher education. Under strict scrutiny, the Court determined that the use of such programs were necessary and narrowly tailored to serve the compelling state interest in student body diversity in Michigan’s universities.
Ten years later, this Court must address whether Proposal 06-02 (“Proposal 2”) undermines that determination, as well as educational missions to achieve a critical mass of underrepresented minorities. The past ten years confirm that it does.
Proposal 2 is a state constitutional amendment passed by Michigan voters that prohibits Michigan’s public universities from considering race as but one factor among many in admissions decisions. The exclusion of any consideration of race facilitates diminished diversity in postsecondary education The passage of Proposal 2, and similar bans on race-conscious admissions measures in other states, has depressed minority student enrollment, particularly at the country’s most selective public universities, as well as at law school sand other professional schools. Such bans ignore the importance of-and scores of studies showing the benefits of -diversity in education.
Time and experience have shown that whatever “promise” race-neutral alternatives once held has been debunked. These alternatives do not adequately achieve diversity, ignore its crucial aspects, and exploit the lack of diversity. They also do nothing to alleviate the alleged harms of race-conscious measures, confirming that the use of race as a factor in admissions is narrowly tailored and necessary to effectuate the critical societal benefit of student body diversity. Given the ineffectiveness of race-neutral alternatives, universities should be permitted to avail themselves of their collective experience and expertise to determine whether-if at all -race should be a fator in admissions decisions and to tailor their admissions programs accordingly.