Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244, 9 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

In October 1997, Gratz and Hamacher filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against the University, the LSA,2 James Duderstadt, and Lee Bollinger.3 Petitioners' complaint was a class-action suit alleging "violations and threatened violations of the rights of the plaintiffs and the class they represent to equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment . . . , and for racial discrimination in violation of 42 U. S. C. 1981, 1983 and 2000d et seq." App. 33. Petitioners sought, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages for past violations, declaratory relief finding that respondents violated petitioners' "rights to nondiscrimina-tory treatment," an injunction prohibiting respondents from "continuing to discriminate on the basis of race in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment," and an order requiring the LSA to offer Hamacher admission as a transfer student.4 Id., at 40.

The District Court granted petitioners' motion for class certification after determining that a class action was appropriate pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2). The certified class consisted of "those individuals who applied for and were not granted admission to the College of

2 The University of Michigan Board of Regents was subsequently named as the proper defendant in place of the University and the LSA. See id., at 17.

3 Duderstadt was the president of the University during the time that Gratz's application was under consideration. He has been sued in his individual capacity. Bollinger was the president of the University when Hamacher applied for admission. He was originally sued in both his individual and official capacities, but he is no longer the president of the University. Id., at 35.

4 A group of African-American and Latino students who applied for, or intended to apply for, admission to the University, as well as the Citizens for Affirmative Action's Preservation, a nonprofit organization in Michigan, sought to intervene pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24. See App. 13-14. The District Court originally denied this request, see id., at 14-15, but the Sixth Circuit reversed that decision. See Gratz v. Bollinger, 188 F. 3d 394 (1999).

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