Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release - Thursday, February 20, 2003.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

States Unite to Defend University of Michigan Affirmative Action Policy

Miller says 22 states filed "friend of court" brief with U.S. Supreme Court.

DES MOINES.  Iowa joined a total of 22 states in filing a "friend-of-the-court" brief yesterday with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan.

The brief argues that diversity in education is a compelling goal, and that states need flexibility in establishing admissions policies and other operations to address each state's individual goals, needs and concerns.

"We are supporting Michigan's right to create a diverse educational environment at its undergraduate and law schools by considering race and ethnicity among many factors in its admission program," Miller said. "We argue that the program is constitutional, and beneficial."

The deadline for filing "amicus" or friend-of-the-court briefs was this week, and it appears that more than 60 briefs were filed in support of Michigan's practices, representing some 300 organizations. Supporting briefs were filed by the group of states and many others, including universities, Fortune 500 companies, and retired top military commanders.

A common theme of the supporting briefs is that it is crucial for the country's educational and other institutions to create a broad mix of experiences and perspectives, and that race and ethnic diversity are fundamental features of life in America. The States' brief and others emphasized that race is being fairly considered as just one criterion, along with applicants' academic record and many other permissible criteria.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the issue on April 1.

The States' amicus brief was drafted principally by the New York and Maryland Attorney General Offices. The Iowa Attorney General's Office played a major role in coordinating the participation of other states joining the amicus brief.

The amicus brief was filed late Wednesday by MD, NY, AZ, CA, CO, CT, IL, IA, ME, MA, MN, MT, NM, NC, OK, OR, RI, VT, WA, WV, WI, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

- 30 -

Click here for PDF file with the States' amicus brief.

Attorney General Home | News Release Home