Bench Memos

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D.C. Circuit Nominee Caitlin Halligan: Racial Preferences


I’ve barely found time to glance at them, but given tomorrow’s hearing, I’ll also call to the attention of readers that D.C. Circuit nominee Caitlin Halligan was the lead counsel on multi-state amicus briefs in the companion cases of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger (both decided in 2003) and in the Seattle and Louisville schools cases (both decided in 2007).

Halligan’s joint brief in Grutter and Gratz argued that the racial preferences in the University of Michigan’s admissions programs for the college and for the law school did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. (By different majorities 5-4 votes, with only Justice O’Connor and Justice Breyer in the majority in both cases, the Court struck down the college program but upheld the law school’s.*)

Halligan’s joint brief in the Seattle and Louisville schools cases argued that the racial-assignment plans at issue did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. (By a 5-4 vote, the Court ruled that they did.)

* The strikethrough and underlining make corrections to the original version of this sentence. The vote in Grutter upholding the law school program was 5-4, but the vote in Gratz striking down the college program was 6-3.


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