The University Record, October 29, 2001

Crowd prepares, lawsuits are delayed

From the Office of Communications

Students gathered in the Michigan League to hear Rev. Jesse Jackson speak. Some attendees also rode buses to Cincinnati for an Oct. 23 rally in support of affirmative action. (Photo by Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)
The oral argument in the appeal of the two cases challenging the University’s Law School and undergraduate admissions programs has been postponed from Oct. 23 until Dec. 6. The arguments will be held before all the judges of the Sixth Circuit, instead of the three-judge panel previously assigned to hear the case, the court announced Oct. 19.

A full court hearing is only granted in cases of national importance, noted Liz Barry, associate vice president and deputy general counsel. The Dec. 6 hearing will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the federal courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“The issues on appeal are the same important issues that have been present throughout the litigation,” Barry said. “Does the Constitution permit colleges and universities to pursue the educational benefits of diversity through race-conscious admissions and if so, are the University’s policies properly designed to pursue that goal?”

In the undergraduate case, the district court answered “yes” to both those questions with respect to the University’s current policy. The Center for Individual Rights, which brought the lawsuits, is appealing that ruling and the University has appealed the portion of the district court’s ruling that invalidated the previous policy.

In the Law School case, the district court answered “no” to both those questions and the University is appealing that ruling. The student intervenors’ claims were denied in both cases and they are also appealing.

Copies of the parties’ briefs and other important information regarding the appeals can be found on the Web, www.umich.edu/~urel/admissions/.