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In Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court recently upheld the use of race in academic admissions programs while apparently setting a twenty-five year time limit on its use. The Court's opinion creates a paradox as the reasoning allowing race to be used in admissions programs contradicts a time limit for such programs. The Court found achieving a diverse student body to be a compelling state interest justifying race-conscious admissions programs. The benefits of diversity that the Court mentioned (better race relations, better learning outcomes, better professionals and better leaders) will still exist in twenty-five years, thus, the apparent time limit seems incorrect. Furthermore, the Court incorrectly concludes equal protection's purpose was to provide colorblindness and equal protection's norm is to provide colorblindness. Equal protection law is actually designed to protect minorities and provide colorblindness and throughout history race-conscious laws have constantly been utilized, thus, race-consciousness and not colorblindness is the historical norm. Finally, the Court concludes the remedial effect of race-conscious programs will determine their fate, although remedying past discrimination was not a compelling interest justifying the admissions programs and a consensus exists that racial equality will not exist in twenty-five years.

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Northern Illinois University Law Review

Suggested Citation

Christopher J. Schmidt, Caught in a Paradox: Problems with Grutter's Expectation that Race Conscious Admissions Programs Will End in Twenty-Five Years, 24 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 753 (2004).

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