Boyce Martin, the chief judge of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, noted the great public attention to the University”s affirmative action cases that Thursday in his opening address to the crowded Cincinnati courtroom.

“We have seldom seen a crowd like this,” he said.

Just a half block away on Fountain Square, a rally organized by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality was concluding. With intense national attention on the cases, hundreds of activists, the curious and members of the media vied for spots in the courtroom.

While the court could only hold about 150 people, an overflow crowd of about 200 was allowed to watch the proceedings via closed circuit television.

With the University”s admissions lawsuits emerging as two of the most important affirmative action suits since the University of California Regents v. Bakke, the court must be thanked for making accommodations for all those who wanted to witness history.

While these cases have faced countless delays since the Center for Individual Rights originally filed the lawsuits in 1997, it was a good move for the appeals to have been pushed back to this December so all of the nine judges could be present.

Although the proceedings were fairly technical and difficult to understand at times, all those present in court that day witnessed very important arguments from all sides involved.

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