Grutter and Gratz Distinguished, set apart from, or excelling others of its kind. Or in other words, special treatment. The law likes to stand by a claim that no group of people receives special treatment, while coincidently, no group receives unfair treatment. However, the world we live in is not a perfect one, so discrimination is a common thing. The most common form of discrimination our country experiences is racial discrimination. Minority groups living in America often feel that they are discriminated against.
The Constitution of the United States has strived to create a orld where people from every race and ethnicity can enjoy the same natural rights in our country. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, states that everyone should be treated equally. Meaning regardless of a person’s income, race, or occupation they will all be treated the exact same as their neighbor. In 2003, The Supreme Court heard two cases that concerned affirmative action.
Affirmative action is based on the principle that certain groups of people should be given a hand up, in terms of monetary compensation, or other forms of special treatment. (Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger 2003). The country continues to go back and forth when it comes to this topic. It turns into a question of whether people should be treated equally, or with equity. Affirmative action is built on the grounds of equity. Rather than giving everyone the same race to run, despite any differences, it gives everyone the same chance at winning the race.
Affirmative action assists minority groups by giving them “boosts” so they have the exact same opportunities as the typical, caucasian american citizen. Some universities, such as the University of Michigan, have tried to incorporate affirmative action into their admissions policy. They are claiming that a “critical mass of minority students” is important for their school (Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003). In my opinion, having a university that is diverse is a wonderful feature, however I do not believe that students should be freely given a hand up benefit in their college applications simply for their race.
If the citizen’s of our country are intensely focused on creating a world where racial discrimination is nonexistent, than I believe reverse discrimination is only worsening the issue. The two cases concerning affirmative action that were heard by the Supreme Court in 2003 are known as Grutter v. Bollinger, and Gratz v. Bollinger, and in both cases, caucasian applicants felt that they had been unfairly denied admission. They believed they were being reversely discriminated against, as they watched applicants from minority groups receive benefits they did not have access to.
These benefits helped the minority students get into specific universities, while caucasian applicants were beat out. In these situations, I do not believe obtaining a critical mass of minority students is that important. If the fact that they are a minority has not put them at a financial or ducational disadvantage, than there is no reason that only a certain group of people should be given automatic benefits, just for their race. Let’s take a closer look at the court case Grutter v. Bollinger. In this case, justices upheld the affirmative action policy that the University of Michigan had in place.
In previous cases, colleges were allowed to consider race as a factor in the admissions policy. This is what is known as a precedent, which is defined as an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances. In Grutter v. Bollinger, the members of justice decided to continue to allow race to be considered as a factor in the admission process. In the court case Gratz V. Bollinger, the University of Michigan’s LSA (literature, science, and arts) was called into question.
The school admission policy operated on a point basis. A student who obtained 100 points would have guaranteed admission into the university (University of Michigan Law School Brief, 2003). Jennifer Gratz applied to the University of Michigan. Her ACT score was 25, and her GPA was a solid 3. 8, however she was denied admission. She met many of the academic requirements, however she was put at a disadvantage that she could do nothing about: Jennifer was not a minority. The LSA program was giving minority students an automatic 20 points simply for their minority status.
Jennifer, along with other students who were experiencing this unfair discrimination, challenged the university for this unfair treatment. The justices ruled this as unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This clause specifically says, “No state shall .. deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal rotection of the laws” (Section of the Fourteenth Amendment, 1868). They decided that awarding minority students 20 out of the 100 points simply for the fact that they are a minority, was not an example of equity. They were not giving these students a “hand-up” in the race to get in.
By awarding them a free 20 points, they were booting out students who met the qualifications on their own, through hard work. The justices identified this as a form of reversely discriminating against students who were apart of the majority group. And they deemed it as unconstitutional for the University of Michigan’s LSA program to award students free points for their race. After researching both cases, and learning the opinions of both judges, my opinion lies somewhere in the middle. I do not believe that race alone should be considered a factor in anything, let alone a college application.
However, I do believe that if a student’s experience as a minority has left them in a financial hole, then they should be given a “hand up. ” | understand that some people see the honoring of 20 points to these minority students as a form of payback for the previous discrimination they have endured, yet I believe that only orsens the problem in the bigger picture. As a person who agrees that race should not matter, it fails to make sense to me why reverse discrimination would be okay. Us citizens as a whole need to realize that to end a problem, especially a problem that is as big as racial discrimination, it has to be a unanimous effort.
So, it does not make sense for the minority student who has grown up as well off as an average citizen in the majority group to think they are entitled to extra benefits. To demand fair treatment when you are experiencing the short end of the stick, but let the unfairness slide when it is in your avor is not going to solve any problems in the long run. As Thurgood Marshall says, “The history of the exclusion of Negro children from white public schools is too well known and recent to require repeating here. (Opinion of Thurgood Marshall, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 1978).
In conclusion, similar to the justices in the cases of Gratz. V. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger, I believe that race alone should not be allowed to be a sole standing factor in determining a student’s acceptance into a college, but it should be considered to an extent. I am not a stranger to the fact that ome children who grow up as a minority are not as financially stable, nor do they have the same opportunity to receive the same education as the average caucasian citizen.
In cases like these, I believe that affirmative action should come into play, and simply give these minorities the same chance as every other person. However, I agree with the justices ruling in Gratz v. Bollinger when they deemed it unconstitutional to simply award minority students free points for simply being a minority. A person’s race should not define them as a person, so their race should not be able to be a sole factor on a student’s college application.