Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244, 24 (2003)

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

Opinion of the Court

Particularly instructive here is our statement in General Telephone Co. of Southwest v. Falcon, 457 U. S. 147 (1982), that "[i]f [defendant-employer] used a biased testing procedure to evaluate both applicants for employment and incumbent employees, a class action on behalf of every applicant or employee who might have been prejudiced by the test clearly would satisfy the . . . requirements of Rule 23(a)." Id., at 159, n. 15 (emphasis added). Here, the District Court found that the sole rationale the University had provided for any of its race-based preferences in undergraduate admissions was the interest in "the educational benefits that result from having a diverse student body." App. to Pet. for Cert. 8a. And petitioners argue that an interest in "diversity" is not a compelling state interest that is ever capable of justifying the use of race in undergraduate admissions. See, e. g., Brief for Petitioners 11-13. In sum, the same set of concerns is implicated by the University's use of race in evaluating all undergraduate admissions applications under the guidelines.17 We therefore agree with the District Court's

they both consider race in the admissions process in a way that is discriminatory"); id., at 7-8 ("[T]he University considers race for a purpose to achieve a diversity that we believe is not compelling, and if that is struck down as a rationale, then the [result] would be [the] same with respect to the transfer policy as with respect to the [freshman] admissions policy, Your Honor").

17 Indeed, as the litigation history of this case demonstrates, "the class-action device save[d] the resources of both the courts and the parties by permitting an issue potentially affecting every [class member] to be litigated in an economical fashion." Califano v. Yamasaki, 442 U. S. 682, 701 (1979). This case was therefore quite unlike General Telephone Co. of Southwest v. Falcon, 457 U. S. 147 (1982), in which we found that the named representative, who had been passed over for a promotion, was not an adequate representative for absent class members who were never hired in the first instance. As we explained, the plaintiff's "evidentiary approaches to the individual and class claims were entirely different. He attempted to sustain his individual claim by proving intentional discrimination. He tried to prove the class claims through statistical evidence of


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