A Black and White Case: How Affirmative Action Survived Its Greatest Legal Challenge, 2nd Edition
To the plaintiffs and the feisty public-interest law firm that backed them, the suits were a long overdue assault on reverse discrimination. The Constitution, strictly construed, was color-blind. Discrimination under any guise was not only illegal, it was the wrong way to set history right in a nation that had been troubled and divided by the uses and misuses of race for more than two hundred years.
To the University of Michigan, and to other top institutions striving to expand opportunity and create diverse, representative student bodies, it looked as if most of what had been put in place since the 1978 Bakke v. University of California decision was about to be undone. Black and Hispanic students were in danger of being once again largely shut out of the most important avenue of advancement in America, an elite education. To some, it appeared likely that racial integration was about to suffer their worst setback since the start of the civil rights movement.
In A Black and White Case, veteran Supreme Court reporter Greg Stohr portrays the individual dramas and exposes the human passions that colored and propelled this momentous legal struggle. His fascinating account takes us deep inside America’s court system, where logic collides with emotion, and common sense must contend with the majesty and sometimes the seeming perversity of the law. He follows the trail from Michigan to Washington, DC, revealing how lawyers argued and strategized, how lower-court judges fought behind the scenes for control of the cases, and why the White House filed a brief in support of the white students, in opposition to a chorus of retired generals and admirals worried that the military academies would no longer reflect the face of America.
Finally, Stohr details the fallout from the Supreme Court's controversial 2003 ruling that both upheld affirmative action and upended some of the methods that had been used to effect it. And he shows how colleges and universities are reshaping their affirmative action policies--an evolution closely watched by lower courts, employers, civil rights lawyers, legislators, regulators, and the public.
A Black and White Case brings alive and brilliantly explains one of the most important Supreme Court decisions on the fundamental and divisive subject of race relations in America.
Part One: A Gathering Storm.
(December 1995–October 1997).
1 A Tale of Two Professors.
2 Getting Lawyered Up.
3 Gratz, Grutter, and Hamacher.
Part Two: Trial Court.
(October 1997–April 2001).
4 Equal Protection.
5 Arguments Michigan Wouldn’t Make.
6 A Clash in Chambers.
7 Accepted on the Spot.
8 Bollinger's New Front.
9 Duggan's Distinction.
10 Preferences on Trial.
Part Three: On Appeal.
(April 2001–December 2002).
11 A Court Divided.
12 Martin v. Boggs.
13 Looking to the High Court.
Part Four: The Supreme Court.
(December 2002–June 2003).
14 The Most Powerful Woman in America.
15 Friends of the Court.
16 "She's Fabulous".
17 "Race Unfortunately Still Matters".
18 Hail to the Victors.
"Seldom does a book of its genre match the quality of Gideon's Trumpet . . . Stohr comes very close in his fascinating, insightful A Black and White Case." (Choice)
"Stohr deserves the highest praise for tackling one of the most complex issues in the high court's caseload and doing it fairly and well." (United Press International, 10/15/04)
"Stohr has produced a brisk yet meaty book that establishes him as a first-rate legal journalist. Move over Jeffrey Toobin." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/26/04)"An engrossing, thought-provoking, fast-paced read, A Black and White Case thoroughly and even-handedly captures both sides of an epic legal struggle that will affect American race relations for decades to come."
Author, The End of Blackness and An American Story
"Greg Stohr has found the grays in A Black and White Case. He has written a full, fair, and scrupulously balanced account of the surprising legal battle that was supposed to end the use of race as a factor in college admissions, but instead gave affirmative action its biggest win ever in the Supreme Court."
Supreme Court reporter for the Los Angeles Times
"By setting out in detail the constitutional questions posed by racial preference and the individual lives of litigants, advocates, and judges directly involved in these landmark cases, Greg Stohr's book supplies a valuable chronicle for the national discussion that necessarily continues. No one who honestly wants to reach common ground can fail to be benefited by canvassing the ground already traversed with A Black and White Case as their guide."
—Douglas W. Kmiec
Chair and Professor of Constitutional Law, Pepperdine University
"A Black and White Case raised my understanding of last year's Supreme Court cases on affirmative action to an entirely new level. This makes the book essential reading for college admissions professionals. The surprise bonus is that it is truly a page-turner, immensely readable, engaging in human terms, and well informed. It's a special pleasure to learn a lot from a book you also enjoy with every passing page."
—William M. Shain
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Vanderbilt University
"A fascinating and compelling account of landmark cases on an issue of enormous importance in American society. Greg Stohr's description of the University of Michigan affirmative action cases is a terrific account of litigation that will affect America's colleges and universities for years to come."
Alston & Bird Professor of Law, Duke Law School
"Every major decision by the Court is but the culmination of a fascinating drama, one that may have taken years to unfold. It takes a particular gift for a writer to reconstruct such a story and to sustain a lively interest in it even though we know what its last chapter will say. Greg Stohr has given us an impressive retelling of this story, with vivid portraits of the actors and a richly detailed account of the maneuvering, manipulating, and massaging that went into each side's strategy."
Supreme Court reporter since 1958
Covered the Michigan cases for the Boston Globe