Enquirer news services
Question: What's all the fuss about? Don't lawsuits like this get filed all the time?
Answer: The University of Michigan cases are the most significant test of affirmative action to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in a generation. In 1978, the high court ruled that racial quotas were unconstitutional.
Q: Why doesn't the Constitution permit schools to consider an applicant's race?
A: It does, but only as one among many factors. What a school cannot do, justices said this time, is install inflexible or automatic racial preferences.
Q: How, exactly, did the University of Michigan's undergraduate school discriminate against whites?
A: The school used a 150-point index to screen applicants. Minorities were automatically awarded 20 points just for not being white.
That virtually guaranteed admission to qualified minority applicants - meaning some whites with better academic records were denied admission.
Q: Twenty points doesn't seem like that much of an advantage. What's the big deal?
A: The 20 points given to minorities was more than the school awarded for some measures of academic excellence, writing ability or leadership skills.
Q: Why doesn't the university simply accept everybody who is smart enough to go to college?
A: The school doesn't have the resources to accommodate them all. In 1997, the year some rejected white students sued, the school had 13,500 applicants - and selected 3,958 of them as freshmen.
Q: How can the University of Michigan Law School's policy of racial preferences be legal?
A: The law school program upheld by the justices considers the race of an applicant along with several other characteristics.
Q: Do the rulings affect schools outside Michigan?
A: Yes. The Michigan cases directly address admissions at public, tax-supported institutions throughout the United States.
Q: Are private institutions exempt from the rulings?
A: The court's rationale is expected to have a wide ripple through private colleges and universities, other government decision-making and the business world.
Q: What's the bottom line on these court rulings?
A: The decisions ensure that public and private universities can continue to use race as a factor in admissions, something almost all top schools do.
Q: How many minority students attend the University of Michigan?
A: Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians represent 13.6 percent of Michigan's undergraduate students and 12.5 percent of its law students.
Q: Why does the University of Michigan insist racial preferences are necessary?
A: It claims that a diverse student body prepares students for an increasingly diverse work force and society.
Q: Are law firms and other businesses looking to hire college graduates irked that the University of Michigan and the Supreme Court think it's OK to influence the racial makeup of student bodies?
A: Actually, Michigan-based General Motors Corp. and 65 other Fortune 500 companies supported the university, saying racially integrated colleges help them recruit a diverse workforce.
Q: Does this mean the debate over affirmative action at colleges has finally been settled?
A: Probably not. Schools are going to have to walk a fine line between promoting diversity and avoiding discrimination against whites who have better academic records than minority applicants.
Howard: Some good news
Korte: Inside City Hall
Pulfer: The ambassador
SCOTUS RULING: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
Court upholds principle, strikes down quotas
Local colleges step up minority recruiting
Local college-bound teens divided on vote
Tristate: Race matters
Putting the court's ruling into context
Bush: Diversity, not quotas, won
Excerpts from the court's two cases
Editorial: For the good of diversity
Guest column: Colleges face new confusion with court's guidelines
Local voices: Affirmative action ruling
Reserves receive hero's welcome
Butler Co. closer to relief from flooding
Fairfield can't stand the rain
Taxpayers stuck with Kroger's $15M bill
Mercedes-Benz looking at West Chester
2 motorcyclists die, another hurt in wrecks
Heberle parents demand information
School teams to be split up
Scholarship winners want to help others
CPS unveils two new designs
Calling all canoeists: Prove your skills at Paddlefest
West Chester committee urges recreation levy
Police sort information on river deaths
Parents who owe support offered catch-up chance
Death-row inmate asks for new trial
Obituary: Mary Louise Schum won design awards
Tristate A.M. report
Development of Ft. Mitchell farm OK'd
NKU grant may spur more health centers at schools
Video shows off city quirks
Needy parents on long waiting list for state child-care benefits
Ky. educators weigh state, federal testing at schools