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ADL Calls Supreme Court Decisions on University of Michigan 'An Attempt to Strike A Delicate Balance'

New York, NY, June 23, 2003 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the Supreme Court's decisions striking down the University of Michigan's race-based undergraduate admissions system while upholding the law school's individualized approach. Calling the decisions an "attempt to strike a delicate balance," ADL called upon university admissions offices to recognize that the Court has not authorized the use of race as "a substitute for individualized consideration of their applicants."

Glen A. Tobias, ADL National Chairman and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

The Supreme Court's two affirmative action rulings today correctly and appropriately reaffirm two fundamental principles. First, racial preferences are antithetical to the Constitution and civil rights laws of the United States, and contrary to the principles of equality on which our society is based. Second, diversity is an important and legitimate goal for university admissions offices. The Anti-Defamation League believes deeply in both of these principles.

Today's rulings attempt to strike a delicate balance. As an agency which has long opposed racial preferences, ADL welcomes the decision in the undergraduate case, which determined that Michigan's "point system" approach was unconstitutional. We also welcome the decision upholding the Law School's approach because of its emphasis on individualized consideration of every applicant. The Court explicitly noted that the Law School's program was approved because it is "flexible enough to ensure that race can be considered in the application process so long as each applicant is evaluated as an individual and not in a way that makes race or ethnicity the defining feature of his or her application." Universities should not misinterpret this decision and assume that they can now use race as a substitute for such individualized consideration of their applicants in order to achieve a "critical mass."

ADL looks forward to the opportunity to working with colleges and universities in creating a diverse and welcoming student body in a way that does not run afoul of the Constitution.
ADL participated as amicus curiae in the Michigan case, opposing racial preferences and asserting that admissions decisions should be based upon individualized consideration of applicants.

ADL Amicus Brief - Full Text
.pdf format – 155kb
(Requires Acrobat Reader, )

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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