Civil Rights in Education
In May 2000, the Attorney General entered into a written settlement agreement with a school district in Northern California that will require the district to make significant changes to its policies and procedures that govern student discipline. The settlement followed an investigation into allegations that a high school within the district had discriminated against a gifted African American student-athlete when it prohibited him from participating on the high school's football team during his senior year. The investigation concluded that the district may have discriminated against the student because of his race, and that the student's due process rights and his right to privacy had been violated by the high school during the course of the disciplinary process.
In Grutter v. University of Michigan and Gratz v. University of Michigan, the California Attorney General joined 20 other state attorneys general in an amicus brief that urged the United States Supreme Court to hold that the goal of achieving a diverse student body is a compelling state interest that justifies consideration of the race of applicants as one of many factors in determining university admissions. The brief further urged the court to uphold the constitutionality of the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies used for its undergraduate and law school programs. On June 23, 2003, the Court held that achieving a diverse student body is a compelling state interest that justifies the use of race as one of many factors in university admissions policies. The Court upheld the constitutionality of the University of Michigan's law school admissions policy, but found that the undergraduate admissions policy's consideration of race was not sufficiently narrowly drawn. As such, that policy was held to violate the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution.