The Court used strict scrutiny to determine the Equal Protection Clause did not prohibit a narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a schools compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from diversity.
Petitioner law school applicant sued respondents, a law school, university regents, and university officials, claiming race discrimination in the law school's admission policy. Petitioner further alleged that her application was rejected because the Law School uses race as a "predominant" factor, giving applicants who belong to certain minority groups "a significantly greater chance of admission than students with similar credentials from disfavored racial groups." The trial court concluded that the policy was unlawful and granted an injunction. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the judgment and vacated the injunction. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Is the use of race as a factor in student admissions by the University of Michigan Law School unlawful?
Because the law school engaged in a highly individualized, holistic review of each applicant, giving serious consideration to all the ways the applicant might contribute to a diverse educational environment, it ensured that all factors that could contribute to diversity were meaningfully considered alongside race.