Automatic Point Distribution

It is possible that students B and C would be flagged and considered as individuals. This assumes that student B was not already admitted because of the automatic 20-point distribution, and that student C could muster at least 70 additional points. But the fact that the “review committee can look at the appli- cations individually and ignore the points,” once an application is flagged is of little comfort under our strict scrutiny analysis. The record does not reveal pre- cisely how many applications are flagged for this individualized consideration, but it is undisputed that such consideration is the exception and not the rule in the operation of the LSA’s admissions program. Additionally, this individual- ized review is only provided after admissions counselors automatically distrib- ute the University’s version of a “plus” that makes race a decisive factor for virtually every minimally qualified underrepresented minority applicant.

Respondents contend that “the volume of applications and the presenta- tion of applicant information make it impractical for [LSA] to use the . . . ad- missions system” upheld by the Court today in Grutter. But the fact that the implementation of a program capable of providing individualized consider- ation might present administrative challenges does not render constitutional an otherwise problematic system. Nothing in Justice Powell’s opinion in Bakke signalled that a university may employ whatever means it desires to achieve the stated goal of diversity without regard to the limits imposed by our strict scrutiny analysis.

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We conclude, therefore, that because the University’s use of race in its current freshman admissions policy is not narrowly tailored to achieve re- spondents’ asserted compelling interest in diversity, the admissions policy violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. . . .