WASHINGTON – The difference between a critical mass and a quota was one of many issues on which justices grilled lawyers during the Grutter v. Bollinger arguments yesterday before the Supreme Court.

Filed in December 1997 by the Center for Individual Rights, the lawsuit attacks the Law School’s policies, which call for the race of its applicants to be taken into account.

CIR attorney Kirk Kolbo split the plaintiffs’ allotted 30 minutes of speaking time with U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olsen, who spoke on behalf of President Bush. Maureen Mahoney argued on behalf of the University.

Both sides addressed the 1978 Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision – in which Justice Lewis Powell said race could be used as one of many factors in college admissions – regarding the issues of precedent and quotas. Justices asked CIR lawyers their stance on the merits of the Bakke decision.

“Do you agree with the articulated proposal of Justice Powell in the Bakke case of using race as a plus factor as he saw the use of it? Do you disagree with that approach?” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor asked. She was a prot

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