Supreme Court on Race and Admissions: Reactions and Resources

June 24, 2003 3 min read

On June 23, 2003, in a pair of decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the consideration of race in higher education admissions, within prescribed limits. The court’s decisions have bearing on a wide variety of race-conscious programs at the elementary and secondary education levels. Below is selection of news, opinion, and resources on the court’s rulings and their potential effects.

Court Opinions | Analysis and Reaction | Organizational Statements


Gratz v. Bollinger (undergraduate case):

Grutter v. Bollinger (law school case):


From Business Week:

From the Christian Science Monitor:

From The Detroit News:

From the Houston Chronicle (requires free registration):

From the Indianapolis Star:

From the Los Angeles Times (requires free registration):

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

From National Public Radio:

From the National Review Online:

From The New York Times (requires free registration):

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

From The (San Jose) Mercury News:

From Slate:

From USA Today:

From The Washington Post:


American Council on Education

  • Joint statement by higher education leaders
    "[T]he court not only upheld racial and ethnic diversity as a compelling state interest, but also reaffirmed the importance of giving colleges and universities leeway in the admissions process.”

American Federation of Teachers

  • Statement by Sandra Feldman, AFT president
    “Ensuring opportunity for the previously disadvantaged is a policy that benefits American business, advances intellectual achievement in the United States and enriches every aspect of our society.”

Education Commission of the States

  • News release
    “The rulings ... represent the court’s most significant statement on the legality of affirmative action in 25 years, and has been long awaited by colleges, universities, and policymakers from across the country.”

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

  • Press release
    “The Supreme Court has in essence provided the nation with a road map on how to construct affirmative action programs in higher education that are constitutionally acceptable.”

National Education Association

  • Statement by Reg Weaver, NEA president
    “While clearly schools must be balanced in expanding opportunities, the Court acknowledged the value in allowing schools to have policies and procedures that promote diversity.”

National School Boards Association

  • News Release
    “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases support local school boards that use race as a factor to create diversity and ensure opportunities for minority students.”

University of Michigan

  • News Release
  • Statement by University President Mary Sue Coleman
    “A majority of the court has firmly endorsed the principle of diversity articulated by Justice Powell in the Bakke decision. This is a resounding affirmation that will be heard across the land— from our college classrooms to our corporate boardrooms.”

The White House

  • Statement by President Bush
    “Today’s decisions seek a careful balance between the goal of campus diversity and the fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law.”