Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244, 10 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 244 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

Literature, Science & the Arts of the University of Michigan for all academic years from 1995 forward and who are members of those racial or ethnic groups, including Caucasian, that defendants treat[ed] less favorably on the basis of race in considering their application for admission." App. 70-71. And Hamacher, whose claim the District Court found to challenge a " 'practice of racial discrimination pervasively applied on a classwide basis,' " was designated as the class representative. Id., at 67, 70. The court also granted petitioners' motion to bifurcate the proceedings into a liability and damages phase. Id., at 71. The liability phase was to determine "whether [respondents'] use of race as a factor in admissions decisions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution." Id., at 70.5


The University has changed its admissions guidelines a number of times during the period relevant to this litigation, and we summarize the most significant of these changes briefly. The University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions (OUA) oversees the LSA admissions process.6 In

order to promote consistency in the review of the large number of applications received, the OUA uses written guidelines for each academic year. Admissions counselors make admissions decisions in accordance with these guidelines.

OUA considers a number of factors in making admissions decisions, including high school grades, standardized test scores, high school quality, curriculum strength, geography, alumni relationships, and leadership. OUA also considers race. During all periods relevant to this litigation, the Uni-5 The District Court decided also to consider petitioners' request for injunctive and declaratory relief during the liability phase of the proceedings. App. 71.

6 Our description is taken, in large part, from the "Joint Proposed Summary of Undisputed Facts Regarding Admissions Process" filed by the parties in the District Court. App. to Pet. for Cert. 108a-117a.


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