Intervenors in the lawsuits challenging the University’s use of race in admissions joined the Center for Individual Rights Monday in filing another petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear both the LSA and Law School cases simultaneously, despite the lack of a ruling in the LSA case from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court also postponed the deadline for filing responses to the petition filed by the CIR to have the Law School case taken up by the Supreme Court.

Theodore Shaw, lead counsel for the intervenors in the undergraduate case, said the case utilizes historical evidence that proves the need for corrective admissions policies. “At the trial court level, we intervened not only to support diversity as a compelling state interest, (but it was also) based on the University’s history of exclusions … and hostile racial climate that has existed on campus up until recent times,” he said.

Shaw, the associate director-counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund, also said there are aspects of the admissions process that in the absence of affirmative action could have a negative effect on minority students. Affirmative action “did not spring out of thin air, there are reasons,” he said.

University assistant General Counsel Jonathan Alger said he does not see a correlation between the petitions from both CIR and the intervenors, and does not believe the intervenor’s position will improve the chance of the undergraduate case being taken up by the Supreme Court.

He also said the University is now preparing to respond to three petitions, hoping that the Supreme Court does not accept the Law School case.

“In the Law School case, the University has said that we believe the 6th Circuit got it right, they held that our policy constitutional,” Alger said. “We had a victory in the 6th Circuit and we will fight any attempt to overturn that victory at the next level.

But Alger said that if the Law School case is to be reviewed, the undergraduate case should too.

The attorney Miranda Massie, who is representing the Law School intervenors, said she supports the petition because deciding the cases together could strengthen the impact of the Supreme Court decision.

“We need both cases there together and we need a strong ruling for integration from the Supreme Court,” she said.

Massie added she asked for a delay in filing a response to CIR’s petition for the Law School case because she has been ill. The court granted two weeks, moving the deadline to Oct. 29.

Massie said it is not uncommon for the court to grant this sort of extension, but it requires a good reason.

“In the context and how important the issues are, we just needed more time,” Massie said. “The court sees the case as being critical just as the parties do.”

Alger said the University will use the extra time to improve its argument.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *