Friday, April 12, 2024

Court places hold on judges U-M decision

DETROIT - A federal appeals court Thursday put on hold a judge’s order that the University of Michigan law school stop using race as a factor in admissions.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit of Appeals said the order is disrupting the selection of the incoming law school class.

“The injunction now in place irreparably harms the University of Michigan and disrupts the selection of the 2001-2002 first-year law class,” the appeals court said in a written decision.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the law school’s 9-year-old affirmative action policy, and then denied a request from U-M to stay his order while the university appeals.

Hundreds of offers of admission already have been made for the 2001-02 academic year, and several thousand applications are still pending.

“We have believed all along that our policy is constitutional and today’s decision puts us back to where we were a week ago - able to pursue our goal of an outstanding and diverse student body,” said Liz Barry, university deputy general counsel. “Today’s decision acknowledges that Judge Friedman’s decision was inconsistent with the decisions of other courts.”

In his ruling, Friedman said the law school’s goal of ensuring a diverse student body is not a compelling state interest.

“We think the injunction should have been left in place,” said Kirk Colbo, an attorney with the Center for Individual Rights, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of a white student, Barbara Grutter.

Grutter claimed she was denied admission in 1997 in favor of less-qualified minorities.

The appeals court has not set a date for hearing the case.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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