The lawsuit that led the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the University of Michigan’s point-based system of undergraduate admissions preferences for certain minority groups was settled this week. According to The Ann Arbor News, the university agreed to pay $10,000 to each of the two white plaintiffs who sued in 1997 on the grounds that the university’s admissions system discriminated against them. In a 2003 ruling, the Supreme Court found the preferences to be unconstitutional and ordered the case returned to a lower court for proceedings to determine what damages the plaintiffs were entitled to. Under this week’s deal, which a judge approved on Wednesday, the plaintiffs — Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher — agreed to drop their claims against the university.
The deal also decertifies the case as a class action, potentially sparing the university an onslaught of lawsuits by thousands of other white students who were denied admission while the point-based system was in place.
Quite a lot has changed on the affirmative-action front since 2003. At the same time it struck down the undergraduate-admissions system, the Supreme Court ruled in a separate case that the Michigan law school’s form of affirmative action was acceptable, a decision that made it appear that the practice had won new life. But Michigan voters last fall overwhelmingly approved a new constitutional amendment that bars all affirmative-action preferences in public higher education, and the University of Michigan says it is complying with the measure. Among the leaders of the campaign to enact that amendment was Ms. Gratz.