Jennifer Gratz: It's time for 'equal' to mean equal
Jennifer Gratz challenged affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan’s undergraduate school in 2003.
March 11th, 2012
01:53 PM ET

Jennifer Gratz: It's time for 'equal' to mean equal

Editor’s note: Jennifer Gratz was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Gratz v. Bollinger which challenged affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has since led efforts against racial preferences. Gratz graduated from the University of Michigan, Dearborn, with a degree in mathematics in 1999.

By Jennifer Gratz, Special to CNN

(CNN) – There is a short phrase, just four words, inscribed up above the main entryway into United States Supreme Court, “Equal Justice Under Law.”

I took note of this inscription on April 1, 2003, when my case, Gratz v. Bollinger, and a companion case, Grutter v. Bollinger, were heard by the high court. My case challenged affirmative action policies in admissions at the University of Michigan’s undergraduate school; Barb Grutter’s challenged affirmative action policies at the law school. By the time my case was heard by the Supreme Court the University of Michigan admitted that their affirmative action policy gave a 20 point boost to blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans on an admissions rating scale.

When I applied to University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for admission in 1995, I thought it was my path to medical school. When I received a rejection letter, I ultimately reconsidered my career choice, and pursued a degree in math at another University of Michigan campus. My confidence was shaken.

The court’s inscription brought confidence as I sat listening to oral arguments on that cold spring day. After all, how could anyone – especially legal scholars – conclude that “equal” meant unequal?

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Filed under: After High School • College • In America • Legal issues • Policy • Voices
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Abbagail

    Hi Jennifer – Don't be a tool of "the man." Stand up for yourself and your sisters of different colors. It is 2012 and we still need AA in Ann Arbor. Right is right and like in Animal Farm, some are still more equal than others.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  2. Kevin

    Sorry to hear that. I am from there and have come to realize that u of m is controversial on many social issues.The school has a history of it,which adds to being a sports school-really good football team...

    March 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |