Granholm brief to support 'U' policies

BY ANDREW MCCORMACK
Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 12, 2003

Gov. Jennifer Granholm will file a brief supporting the University's admissions policies to the U.S. Supreme Court within the week, her office announced Monday.

Granholm also filed a brief as attorney general in 2001 when the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals was hearing the lawsuit challenging the race-conscious policies.

"The governor is very committed to the University's right to determine the diversity of its student body," said Elizabeth Boyd, spokeswoman for the governor. She "has supported the University's position through this whole process."

Briefs supporting the University, called amicus briefs, as well as the University's, are due next Tuesday. Granholm asked Attorney General Mike Cox to write a brief similar to her own, but he declined. Cox spokesman Sage Eastman said while the attorney general supports diversity, a separate brief would do little good.

"The attorney general looked at the briefs that have been filed, and felt that there was no new legal ground to break," Eastman said. "There are briefs upon briefs. ... The issues have been exhausted on both sides. It's time to sit back and let the court make its decision."

While the governor's office declined to comment on the details of the brief, Boyd said it will hopefully have an impact on the Court's Decision.

But some feel Granholm's position as governor will have little influence on the Supreme Court.

"With the Court, the amicus brief has no political weight," said Wayne State University's Professor of Constitutional Law, Robert Sedler. "If there are interesting points in the brief, the clerk might show it to the Supreme Court, but it's not going to matter if 'the president' or 'the governor' filed a brief."

"Groups file amicus briefs largely for their own purposes. Bush filed his brief for his reasons, and Granholm is filing her brief for her reasons," Sedler said.

The attorney general has similar thoughts about the issue, Eastman said.

"We don't feel the justices will be swayed by who signed the brief, but by the points made in the brief," he said.

Cox also feels the admissions policies of other universities accomplish the same goal while being less legaly questionable, Eastman said.

"He is a strong supporter of diversity measures, but it is his belief that measures employed by Texas and Florida are more constitutionally sound than Michigan," he said. "Those programs have been successful and avoided the legal problems with the University of Michigan."

will hopefully have an impact on the court's decision.

But some feel Granholm's position as governor will have little influence on the Supreme Court.

"With the court, the amicus brief has no political weight," said Wayne State University constitutional law Prof. Robert Sedler. "If there are interesting points in the brief, the clerk might show it to the Supreme Court, but it's not going to matter if 'the president' or 'the governor' filed a brief."

"Groups file amicus briefs largely for their own purposes. Bush filed his brief for his reasons, and Granholm is filing her brief for her reasons," Sedler added.

The attorney general has similar thoughts about the issue, Eastman said.

"We don't feel the justices will be swayed by who signed the brief, but by the points made in the brief," he added.

Cox also feels the admissions policies of other universities accomplish the same goal while being less legally questionable, Eastman said.

"He is a strong supporter of diversity measures, but it is his belief that measures employed by Texas and Florida are more constitutionally sound than Michigan," Eastman said.

"Those programs have been successful and avoided the legal problems with the University of Michigan."