Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What is Courage? This is.

We're reading Grutter v. Bollinger (use of race as a factor in admissions at the University of Michigan Law School) for Con Law and it says that the plaintiff, who (let us not forget) sued the University of Michigan Law School (#7 according to U.S. News Law School "rankings") claiming she didn't get in because she was white when she had "a 3.8 grade point average and 161 LSAT score." That takes guts. I didn't get into Michigan (well, I got wait listed, and never stuck around to see if smarter people then me got into Harvard and then dinged Michigan), but I never in my life considered suing claiming that admissions discriminated against me because I'm white. I mean, come on... was she honestly surprised when she got rejected from Michigan with a 161?

I know we live in a very litigous society (which, by the way, is awesome for us law students, because it means we'll have plenty of work when we get out of school... keep that business flowing), but didn't she ever think maybe she just wasn't good enough for Michigan? Here is something you will rarely hear from a law student, but sometimes, we just aren't good enough... and that's OK.

P.S. Ms. Grutter... please don't sue me.


At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is worth noting that law school admissions were easier in the mid-90's. Strictly on the basis of Mrs. Grutter's numbers and race, she stood about a 10% chance of being admitted. I believe she also had some significant work experience or some other valued soft factors.

She was far from being a certain admit, with or without AA. But she seems to have crossed some miniumum standards of the school, so she really isn't unjustified in trying to correct her perceived injustice.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Unreasonable Man said...

But crossing minimum standards doesn't entitle you to admission. I can understand her disappointment (I was disappointed when I didn't get into Michigan too), but the logical, adult response would be to move on and go to one of the other really good law schools she could have gotten into. The Michigan Law Schools of the world don't have a monopoly on legal education, despite what their admissions department would have you believe.

I guess I just don't see the "injustice," and I can't even imagine perceiving one. My guess is she didn't get in, and, like too many people in society, she thought suing would solve her problems.

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Matt Schuh said...

Yeah, it sounds like the wrong person sued in this case. I agree with you (notwithstanding the comment from "anonymous") that a 3.8/161 wouldn't (at least today) get her even close to being admitted at Michigan. I don't see injustice in that either, regardless of whether somebody got in with lower numbers because of their race. I do think though that the person who was displaced because of the reliance on racial preferences has a case that they have suffered an injustice. You know as well as I do that there is economic value to going to a highly ranked law school. I think the displaced person has a legitimate gripe in such a case. But yeah, I agree...the person who's admission status wasn't affected definitely has nothing to complain about.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Prof. Schwarzenegger said...

I read the case last year too. If I remember right, though, she should have gotten in. The bigger issue, however, is not what she got compared to the rest of the students, but what she got compared to those others who got in. If she had credentials that were better than those who were getting in, then the accepted were getting in solely because of their race.

If you're using the Sunstein case book (Aspen) the supplement explains the differences between the average for minorities and average for non-minorities. If I remember correctly, it was like a 5 point LSAT difference and a significant GPA difference. If those numbers were true, I would have gotten into Michigan pretty easily. As it was, I did not.

There is a bigger issue with this case, however. A study and subsequent paper is being published in the Standford (?) Law Review that documents the result of these programs. Basically, the paper argues that as a result of lower standards, minorities are finishing lower in their respective classes and are having a harder time finding jobs. You can find some posts on this at www.volokh.com.


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