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Michigan Law School Can't Discriminate, Even in the Name of ``Diversity;`` Pacific Legal Foundation Hails Judge Friedman's ``Courageous and Constitutionally Correct`` Decision.

Business Editors/Legal Writers

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 27, 2001

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman adhered to the "highest constitutional standards" when he ruled today that the University of Michigan Law School cannot make decisions on applicants based on the color of their skin, said Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Eric Grant.

Grant, a former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk who is preparing to file a brief in a similar case challenging the University of Washington law school's use of race as an admissions factor, said the mandate of the Constitution is that "citizens should not be punished, preferred or pigeon-holed by government on the basis of their race, ethnicity or color. Judge Friedman, in ruling against the University of Michigan law school, recognized that there is no compelling state interest that would supersede this bedrock constitutional requirement that government must be color blind."

"We live in an increasingly multicultural, multiracial society. For that reason alone, it is imperative that government not divide people up -- and pit them against each other -- based on racial groupings," said Grant.

The case, Grutter v. Bollinger, was brought by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Individual Rights. It challenges the Michigan law school's practice of rationalizing race-based admissions policies by using the word "diversity" rather than "discrimination." It is likely to go up on appeal because another case, challenging discrimination by the University of Michigan in undergraduate admissions, was decided differently by another federal district judge last year.

Founded in 1973, Pacific Legal Foundation is the oldest, largest, and, in the words of the Washington Post, "perhaps most influential" public interest law firm dedicated to limited government and individual rights. It has been the primary enforcer in the courts for Proposition 209, California's state-level mandate against race-based preferences. PLF also litigates nationally in behalf of color-blind civil rights. PLF's web site is www.pacificlegal.org. Mr. Grant is available for comment at 916/362-2833.
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