IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEAL
LEE BOLLINGER, et al.,
KIMBERLY JAMES, et al.,
On Appeal From An Order And Final Judgment Of
BRIEF OF GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION
DISCLOSURE OF CORPORATE AFFILIATIONS
Attorney for General Motors Corporation
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES iii
INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE 1
Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena,
515 U.S. 200 (1995) 11
Brewer v. West Irondequoit Central Sch. Dist.,
212 F.3d 738, 750 (2d Cir. 2000) 11
Brown v. Board of Educ.,
347 U.S. 483, 493 (1954) 14
City of Richmond v. Croson,
488 U.S. 469, 493 (1989) 9
Hohn v. United States,
524 U.S. 236, 252-253 (1998) 10
Hopwood v. Texas,
78 F.3d 932, 944-945 (5th Cir. 1996) 11
Hunter v. Regents of Univ. of Cal.,
190 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 1999) 11
Keyishian v. Board of Regents,
385 U.S. 589 (1967) 6, 14, 25
Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. Federal Communications Comm'n,
497 U.S. 547 (1990) 11, 12
North Carolina Bd. of Educ. v. Swann,
402 U.S. 43 (1971) 13
Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke,
438 U.S. 265 (1978) passim
Smith v. University of Washington Law School,
233 F.3d 1188 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. denied 10
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ.,
402 U.S. 1 (1971) 12
Sweatt v. Painter,
339 U.S. 629, 634 (1950) 13, 14
Sweezy v. New Hampshire,
354 U.S. 234, 263 (1957) 7
Washington v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1,
458 U.S. 457, 460, 472-474 (1982) 12
Wittmer v. Peters,
87 F.3d 916, 919 (7th Cir. 1996) 10
GORDON W. ALLPORT,
THE NATURE OF PREJUDICE (1954) 25
T.K. BIKSON & S.A. LAW,
RAND REPORT ON GLOBAL PREPAREDNESS AND HUMAN RESOURCES:
COLLEGE AND CORPORATE PERSPECTIVES (1994) 3, 4, 15
WILLIAM G. BOWEN & DEREK BOK,
THE SHAPE OF THE RIVER (1998) 12
TAYLOR H. COX, JR.,
CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN ORGANIZATIONS: THEORY, RESEARCH,
AND PRACTICE (1993) 16
JOHN P. FERNANDEZ,
RACE, GENDER AND RHETORIC: THE TRUE STATE OF RACE
AND GENDER RELATIONS IN CORPORATE AMERICA (1998) 17
JOHN P. FERNANDEZ,
THE DIVERSITY ADVANTAGE (1993) 30
WILLIAM G. LEE,
MAVERICKS IN THE WORKPLACE: HARNESSING THE
GENIUS OF AMERICAN WORKERS (1998) 19
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER,
THE CHANGE MASTERS: INNOVATIONS FOR PRODUCTIVITY IN THE
AMERICAN CORPORATION (1983) 30
GARY ORFIELD & DEAN WHITLA, THE CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT, HARVARD
UNIVERSITY, DIVERSITY AND LEGAL EDUCATION: STUDENT EXPERIENCES
IN LEADING LAW SCHOOLS (1999),
Sumita Raghuram & Raghu Garud,
The Vicious and Virtuous Facets of Workforce
Diversity, in SELECTED RESEARCH ON WORK TEAM
DIVERSITY (Marian N. Ruderman et al. eds., 1996) 30
CITIZENS' COMM'N ON CIVIL RIGHTS, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
TO OPEN THE DOORS OF JOB OPPORTUNITY (1984) 29
FEDERAL GLASS CEILING COMM'N, A SOLID INVESTMENT:
MAKING FULL USE OF THE NATION'S HUMAN CAPITAL
(1995) 17, 32
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, THE PRESIDENT'S REPORT 1993-1995 26
MINORITY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, U.S. DEP'T OF COMMERCE,
DYNAMIC DIVERSITY (1999) 4
Akhil R. Amar & Neal K. Katyal,
Bakke's Fate, 43 U.C.L.A. L. REV. 1745 (1996) 26
William G. Bowen,
Admissions and the Relevance of Race,
PRINCETON ALUMNI WEEKLY (Sept. 26, 1977) 8, 25
Taylor H. Cox, Jr. & Stacy Blake,
Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for
5 ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE No. 3 (1991) 18
Rohit Deshpande et al.,
The Intensity of Ethnic Affiliation: A Study of the Sociology
of Hispanic Consumption,
13 JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH No. 2 (1986) 16
Janine S. Hiller & Stephen P. Ferris,
Separating Myth From Reality: An Economic Analysis
of Voluntary Affirmative Action Programs,
23 MEMPHIS ST. U. L. REV. 773 (1993) 31, 32
Endangered Species: New Ideas,
133 BUSINESS MONTH No. 4 (1989) 19
Charlan J. Nemeth,
Differential Contributions of Majority and Minority Influence,
93 PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW No. 1 (1986) 30
Cultural Effects on the Marketing Process in Southeast Asia,
24 JOURNAL OF MARKET RESEARCH SOC'Y No. 2 (1982) 16
Walter G. Stephan & John C. Brigham,
Intergroup Contact: Introduction,
41 J. SOC. ISSUES No. 3 (1985) 25
David K. Tse et al.,
Does Culture Matter? A Cross-Cultural Study
of Executives' Choice, Decisiveness, and Risk
Adjustment in International Marketing,
52 JOURNAL OF MARKETING No. 4 (1988) 16
Diversity in the Workplace: Class Action Suits A Major
Concern for the Fortune 500,
CHI. TRIB., June 17, 1997 32
Management: How Workplaces May Look Without
Affirmative Action, WALL ST. J., Mar. 20, 1995 32
Employees Must Reflect the Diverse World,
FORTUNE, Mar. 26, 1990 31
Robert A. Rosenblatt,
PG & E Wins Federal Affirmative Action Award,
L.A. TIMES, Dec. 19, 1989 31
EEAC, Special Memorandum, Critical Issues In the Affirmative Action
Debate: Exec. Order 11,246 (Mar. 17, 1995) 32
M. Douglas Ivester (Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company),
Robert J. Eaton (Chairman and CEO of Chrysler
Corporation) in Executive Council 1998 31
"General Motors Diversity Management",
General Motors Corporation ("General Motors") is a multi-national
corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. A global leader in automobile
design and manufacturing, financial services, and advanced technology electronics,
General Motors contributes substantially to the national and world economies, with
annual revenues exceeding $175 billion. General Motors employs 388,000 people
globally, including 193,000 people in the United States.
General Motors' interest in this case is substantial. General Motors employs
a large number of graduates from the University of Michigan.1 General Motors
depends upon the University of Michigan and similarly selective academic
institutions to prepare students for employment to teach them the skills required
to succeed and lead in the global marketplace. The quality of the education these
students receive profoundly affects the ability of General Motors, and indeed all
major American corporations, to compete.
General Motors files as amicus curiae in this case to explain that the
Nation's interest in safeguarding the freedom of academic institutions to select
racially and ethnically diverse student bodies is indeed compelling: the future of
1 In part because General Motors hires so many graduates from the University of
Michigan, the university is one of General Motors' "Key Institutions," to which the
company provides significant financial assistance.
In General Motors' experience, only a well educated, diverse workforce,
comprising people who have learned to work productively and creatively with
individuals from a multitude of races and ethnic, religious, and cultural
backgrounds, can maintain America's competitiveness in the increasingly diverse
and interconnected world economy. Diversity in academic institutions is essential
to teaching students the human relations and analytic skills they need to succeed
and lead in the work environments of the twenty-first century. These skills include
the abilities to work well with colleagues and subordinates from diverse
backgrounds; to view issues from multiple perspectives; and to anticipate and
respond with sensitivity to the cultural differences of highly diverse customers,
colleagues, employees, and global business partners.
General Motors speaks from first-hand experience regarding the importance
of such cross-cultural skills. As General Motors' global enterprises expand, it is
increasingly critical that employees at every level of its operations utilize these
skills in their daily tasks. General Motors now maintains major market presences
in more than 200 different countries throughout the world, including in Europe,
Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. General Motors'
employees, customers, and business partners thus could scarcely be more racially,
ethnically, and culturally diverse.
A ruling proscribing the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions
decisions would dramatically reduce diversity at our Nation's top institutions and
thereby deprive the students who will become the corps of our Nation's business
elite of the interracial and multicultural interactions in an academic setting that are
so integral to their acquisition of cross-cultural skills. Such a ruling also would
reduce racial and ethnic diversity in the pool of employment candidates from
which the Nation's businesses can draw their future leaders, impeding businesses'
own efforts to obtain the manifold benefits of diversity in the managerial levels of
their work forces. Each of these results may diminish the ability of American
businesses to utilize fully the opportunities of the global market.
All parties have consented to the filing of this brief.
The ability of American businesses to thrive in the twenty-first century will
depend in large measure on our Nation's responses to two inevitable forces: the
increasingly global and interconnected nature of the world economy (see, e.g., T.K.
Bikson & S.A. Law, Rand Report on Global Preparedness and Human Resources:
College and Corporate perspectives (1994)("Rand Report")) and the increasing
diversity of our own population (see, e.g., Minority Business Development
Agency, U.S. Dep't of Commerce, Dynamic Diversity (1999)). The vast majority
of businesses in the Fortune 500 currently maintain operations or do business in
countries outside of the United States. Technological innovations, including the
internet and other telecommunications tools, are creating a truly global, interlinked
world economy. See Rand Report, supra, at 1-2. Global mergers and business
expansion are continually increasing the diversity of American businesses'
customer bases and business partners.
Nationally, our own population is also becoming increasingly diverse: by the
year 2050, almost half of all Americans 47% will be African American,
Hispanic, Asian American, or Native American. See Dynamic Diversity, supra, at
8. After 2050, that "minority" population is projected rapidly to surpass the non-
Hispanic white population in size. Id. at 11; see also id. at 1.
To succeed in this increasingly diverse environment, American businesses
must select leaders who possess cross-cultural competence the capacities to
interact with and understand the multiplicity of perspectives held by persons of
different races, ethnicities, and cultural histories. Numerous authorities concur that
"[c]rosscultural competence" is "the most important new attribute for future
effective performance in a global marketplace." Rand Report, supra, at 51; see
also id. at 24 (identifying "cross-cultural competence" as "the critical new human
resource requirement for corporations that have espoused a global business
strategy") (emphasis in original). Thus, it is essential that the selective academic
institutions that prepare students to enter the business and professional worlds
adequately equip them with this skill. Id. at 51-52.
Much research confirms what is intuitively obvious: students are likely to
acquire greater cross-cultural competence in a multicultural and multiracial
academic environment, in which students and faculty of different cultures and
races interact, than they are in a homogeneous one, in which cross-cultural
communication is merely a theoretical construct. See pp. 21-22, infra. Studies
also confirm that diverse academic environments stimulate critical and reflective
thinking, opening students' minds to problem-solving from multiple perspectives.
This Court is presented with the question whether state universities have a
compelling interest in ensuring that students receive these educational benefits.
The answer to that question, originally provided by Justice Powell's opinion in
Regents of University of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978), and confirmed by the
experience of the business community and academic institutions in the decades
since Bakke was decided, is a resounding "yes," as Judge Duggan correctly
concluded in his opinion below (Gratz v. Bollinger, slip op. 23 (Dec. 13, 2000)).
Judge Friedman's contrary conclusion was based on his mistaken belief that no
interest other than an interest in "remedy[ing] past discrimination" no matter
how "important and laudable" that interest might be could ever justify the
consideration of race by a governmental body. Grutter v. Bollinger, slip op. 49
(Mar. 27, 2001). That conclusion is incorrect as a matter of law. 2
Justice Powell presciently declared in Bakke that "the 'nation's future
depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure' to the ideas and mores of
students as diverse as this Nation of many peoples." 438 U.S. at 313 (quoting
Keyishian v. Board of Regents, 385 U.S. 589, 603 (1967). A majority of the
Supreme Court held in Bakke that the University of California had "a substantial
interest that legitimately may be served by a properly devised admissions program
2 We leave to the parties, who possess greater familiarity with the details of the
University's program, the question whether the program is narrowly tailored to
achieve the above-described compelling interest.
involving the competitive consideration of race and ethnic origin." Id. at 320
(opinion of Powell, J., joined by Brennan, White, Marshall, and Blackmun, JJ.). In
his opinion, Justice Powell explained that "attainment of a [racially and ethnically]
diverse student body" "clearly is a constitutionally permissible goal for an
institution of higher education" (id. at 312) because it augments the educational
process in two ways.
First, racial and ethnic diversity in an academic institution teaches students
skills that will improve their performance as leaders and professionals in a
heterogeneous society. 438 U.S. at 313. Immersion in a multiracial academic
environment enhances students' knowledge of different cultures and their
understanding of perspectives that are influenced by race. That augmented
understanding in turn prepares students, upon graduation, to work cooperatively in
multiracial environments and to serve multiracial clienteles. As Justice Powell
observed, for example, racial diversity in a medical school "enrich[es] the training
of its student body," "better equip[ping] its graduates to render with understanding
their vital service" to a "heterogeneous population." Id. at 314.
Second, racial and ethnic diversity promotes "'speculation, experiment, and
creation,'" thinking processes that are "essential to the quality of higher
education." 438 U.S. at 311-312 (quoting Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S.
234, 263 (1957) (Frankfurter, J., concurring)). Differences among students allow
them to '"stimulate one another to reexamine even their most deeply held
assumptions about themselves and their world,'" teaching them to view issues
from myriad perspectives. Id. at 312 & n.48 (quoting William G. Bowen,
Admissions and the Relevance of Race, PRINCETON ALUMNI WEEKLY 7, 9 (Sept. 26,
In the courts below, the University of Michigan presented a mass of
unrefuted evidence substantiating both of Justice Powell's statements regarding the
ways in which racial and ethnic diversity enhance students' intellectual and social
growth. Judge Duggan found that the University had presented "solid evidence
regarding the educational benefits that flow from a racially and ethnically diverse
student body" and, guided by Justice Powell's opinion, concluded that the
University's interest in achieving these benefits was compelling. Gratz v.
Bollinger, slip op. 20 (Dec. 13, 2000).
Judge Friedman likewise acknowledged the educational benefits of racial
diversity, observing that "racial diversity in the law school population may provide
the educational and societal benefits" of "enabl[ing] [students] to better
understand persons of different races" and "equipping] them to serve as lawyers
in an increasingly diverse society and an increasingly competitive world
economy." Grutter, slip op. 48-49 (citing Amicus Curiae Brief of General Motors
Corp.). Judge Friedman also conceded that the University's interest in achieving
these educational and social benefits was "[c]learly * * * important and laudable."
Id. at 49.
Nonetheless, Judge Friedman declined to find that the University's "[c]learly
* * * important and laudable" interest in "attain[ing] a racially diverse class is * * *
compelling" primarily "because * * * it is not a remedy for past discrimination."
Ibid. (emphasis added). Invoking dicta in a Supreme Court opinion, Judge
Friedman reasoned that the Supreme Court, if given an opportunity today, would
rule that no interest, other than a need to remedy the effects of past discrimination,
could ever justify the consideration of race by a governmental body. See id. at 46
(citing City of Richmond v. Croson, 488 U.S. 469, 493 (1989)).
That was error. In Bakke, a majority of five Justices unequivocally held that
a state university may consider race in admissions decisions absent a history of
discrimination by that institution. Although the Justices' rationales for that
conclusion differed, that conclusion with which Judge Friedman's opinion is
irreconcilable "remain[s] binding precedent until [the Supreme Court itself]
see[s] fit to reconsider [it], regardless of whether subsequent cases have raised
doubts about [its] continuing vitality." Hohn v. United States, 524 U.S. 236, 252-
Because Bakke remains good law, the Supreme Court's suggestion in dicta
that affirmative action might appropriately be limited to remedial settings, made in
a case that had nothing to do with education or the benefits of diversity, has no
bearing here. As Judge Posner has explained: "There is a reason that dicta are
dicta and not holdings, that is, are not authoritative. * * * A judge would be
unreasonable to conclude that no other consideration except a history of
discrimination could ever warrant a [race-conscious] measure unless every other
consideration had been presented to and rejected by him." Wittmer v. Peters, 87
F.3d 916, 919 (7th Cir. 1996). After all, "[i]t is not as if the rectification of past
discrimination ha[s any] logical or equitable priority over other legitimate goals"
that race-conscious decisionmaking "might serve." Ibid.
Numerous courts of appeals thus have recognized nonremedial justifications
for affirmative action. See e.g., id. at 919-920 (state had a compelling interest in
diversifying ranks of lieutenants in a boot camp) (citing other correctional cases).
Indeed, several courts of appeals have held that state educational institutions have a
compelling interest in achieving diversity to achieve educational goals. See., e.g.,
Smith v. University of Washington Law School, 233 F.3d 1188 (9th Cir. 2000), cert.
denied, May 29, 2001 (law school); Brewer v. West Irondequoit Central Sch. Dist.,
212 F.3d 738, 750 (2d Cir. 2000) (primary school); Hunter v. Regents of Univ. of
Cal., 190 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 1999 (lab school). The Fifth Circuit is the sole court
of appeals to reach a different conclusion. See Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932,
944-945 (5th Cir. 1996).
Judge Friedman also refused to follow Bakke because he was skeptical of
Justice Powell's conclusion that racial diversity increases viewpoint diversity.
Grutter, slip op. 47. But in Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. Federal Communications
Comm'n, 497 U.S. 547 (1990), the Court explicitly endorsed Justice Powell's view
that racial diversity tends to promote a healthy and educational diversity of
viewpoints. The Court declared: "Just as a 'diverse student body' contributing to
a "'robust exchange of ideas'" is a 'constitutionally permissible goal' on which a
race conscious university admissions program may be predicated, the diversity of
views and information on the airwaves serves important First Amendment values."
Id. at 567-568 (citing Bakke, 438 U.S. at 311-313 (opinion of Powell, J.))). 3
3 The Supreme Court overruled Metro Broadcasting on a different ground
specifically, on its holding that a race-conscious federal government program need
only be reviewed under intermediate, rather than strict, scrutiny in Adarand
Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 225-227 (1995). The Court in Adarand
did not revisit its holding in Metro Broadcasting that racial and ethnic diversity
tends to promote a diversity of viewpoints.
To recognize that racial diversity among students enhances educational
diversity is not, as plaintiff has suggested, to rely upon impermissible racial
stereotypes or to presume that all individuals of a particular race act or think alike.
Although persons of a particular race or ethnicity of course do not necessarily
share a common perspective, race and ethnicity are as likely as any other
experience to influence an individual's own, unique perspective. Just as growing
up in a particular region, living with a disability, or having particular professional
experiences are likely to affect an individual's views, so too are one's racial and
cultural experiences. See WILLIAM G. BOWEN & DEREK BOK, THE SHAPE OF THE
RIVER 278-279 (1998). As the Court explained in Metro Broadcasting, "[t]he
predictive judgment about the overall result of minority" representation "is not a
rigid assumption about how minorit[ies] * * * will behave in every case but rather"
merely recognizes "that greater admission of minorities would contribute, on
average, to the robust exchange of ideas." Id. at 579 (majority opinion).
Indeed, the Supreme Court often has recognized, in cases other than Bakke,
that racial and ethnic academic diversity promotes vital educational goals, and
even that achieving diversity through race-conscious decisionmaking accordingly
is within the prerogative of state educational institutions. In Swann v. Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ., 402 U.S. 1 (1971), for example, the Court observe
that, even absent any constitutional violation, "it [would be] within the broad
discretionary powers of [elementary and secondary] school authorities" to
"conclude" "as an educational policy" "that in order to prepare students to live in a
pluralistic society each school should have a prescribed ratio of Negro to white
students." Id. at 16; accord North Carolina Bd. of Educ. v. Swann, 402 U.S. 43
(1971). Similarly, in Washington v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 458 U.S. 457, 460,
472-474 (1982), the Supreme Court struck down a measure that would have
restricted a school district's power to address de facto segregation, for the purpose
of augmenting education. In the course of its opinion, the Court noted that "it
should be * * * clear that white as well as Negro children benefit from exposure to
'ethnic and racial diversity in the classroom.'" Id. at 472 (internal citation omitted).
And it concluded that, "in the absence of a constitutional violation, the desirability
and efficacy of school desegregation are matters to be resolved through the
political process." Id. at 474. Cf. Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629, 634 (1950)
(recognizing the educational value of diversity in striking down segregation of law
As shown below, the experience of the business world confirms Justice
Powell's conclusion that state academic institutions have a compelling interest in
using diversity to hone young minds and "'prepar[e] * * * children '[to act as]
citizens'" (Seattle Sch. Dist., 458 U.S. at 473 (internal citation omitted)),
"leaders" (Keyishian, 385 U.S. at 603), and professionals (Brown v. Board of
Educ., 347 U.S. 483, 493 (1954); Sweatt, 339 U.S. 634) in our heterogeneous
society. Bakke, 438 U.S. at 313.
The business world has learned that, just as Justice Powell observed, "the
'nation's future" does indeed "depend upon leaders trained'" in diverse academic
environments. Bakke, 438 U.S. at 313 (Opinion of Powell, J.). The capacities to
work easily with persons of other races and to view problems from multiple
complex perspectives are essential skills in the business world of the twenty-first
century. Indeed, the cross-cultural competence of a business's workforce directly
affects its bottom line. Academic institutions with diverse student bodies offer the
best and for many students, the only opportunity to acquire these crucial
Demographic changes in the racial and ethnic composition of businesses'
workforces, customer bases, and pools of potential business partners increasingly
necessitate that entrants into the managerial levels of the business world come
equipped with the abilities to work creatively with persons of any race, ethnicity, or
culture and to understand views influenced by those traits. See e.g., RAND
REPORT, supra, at 16-18, 24-27. Such cross-cultural competence affects a
business's performance of virtually all of its major tasks: (a) identifying and
satisfying the needs of diverse customers; (b) recruiting and retaining a diverse
workforce, and inspiring that workforce to work together to develop and
implement innovative ideas; and (c) forming and fostering productive working
relationships with business partners and subsidiaries around the globe. 4
4 In light of the importance of diversity to a business's success, it is not surprising
that many businesses have long promoted a commitment to diversity among their
ranks. General Motors, for instance, made diversity a "core business objective" in
Cross-cultural competence is essential for a business to profit from these
vast market opportunities. It is undeniable that consumers' cultures can and often
do influence their purchasing preferences. 5 Businesses that are able to identify and
cater to these market preferences will prosper; those that lack the sensitivity and
domain knowledge to meet these diverse market demands will not.
To meet the challenge, businesses require managers and employees who
understand that people from diverse backgrounds manifest diverse interests, and
who know how to translate that understanding into creative product development,
community outreach, and marketing and advertising campaigns. Examples of such
successful identification and satisfaction of the needs of culturally diverse
populations abound. See e.g., TAYLOR H. COX, JR., CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN
ORGANIZATIONS: THEORY, RESEARCH, AND PRACTICE 30-31 (1993) (citing, among
other examples, a company's successful development of a cosmetics line designed
for women of color and a different company's success in turning around poor
5 See e.g., Taylor H. Cox, Jr. & Stacy Blake, Managing Cultural Diversity:
Implications for Organizational Competitiveness, 5 ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT
EXECUTIVE No. 3, at 45, 49 (1991); David K. Tse et al., Does Culture Matter? A
Cross-Cultural Study of Executives' Choice, Decisiveness, and Risk Adjustment in
International Marketing, 52 JOURNAL OF MARKETING No. 4, at 81-95 (1988); Rohit
Deshpande et al., The Intensity of Ethnic Affiliation: A Study of the Sociology of
Hispanic Consumption, 13 JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH No. 2, at 214-220
(1986); S.G. Redding, Cultural Effects on the Marketing Process in Southeast
Asia, 24 JOURNAL OF MARKET RESEARCH SOC'Y No. 2, at 98-114 (1982).
performance in inner cities by assigning management of those market areas to
Black and Hispanic managers sensitive to local consumer preferences).
(Message From The Chair) ("GLASS CEILING COMM'N REPORT"). Over the next 50
years, that percentage is projected to exceed the percentage of Caucasian
workforce entrants. See p. 4, supra. Businesses also employ citizens of other
nations to staff their global manufacturing and production operations. General
Motors, for example, employs citizens of 53 different countries, many of whom are
The capacity of many businesses to recruit and retain talented labor a
critical resource therefore increasingly will depend upon the reputation of the
businesses for nondiscrimination, sensitivity to interracial and multicultural issues,
and valuing diversity. "Companies with strong records for developing and
advancing minorities and women will find it easier to recruit [and retain] members
of those groups." GLASS CEILING COMM'N REPORT, supra, at 4.
Indeed, companies with reputations for appropriate management of diversity
already are proving more successful in attracting and retaining top-quality workers.
See Taylor H. Cox, Jr. & Stacy Blake, Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications
for Organizational Competitiveness, 5 ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE No.
3, at 45, 48-49 (1991). The need to make work environments more hospitable to
non-Caucasian workers is apparent: at present, minorities in general experience
higher turnover rates and levels of job dissatisfaction. See e.g., id. at 45, 46.
Cross-cultural competence augments not only recruiting and retention of
employees, but also workforce creativity and productivity. The best ideas and
products are created by teams of people who can work together without prejudice
or discomfort. Cf. Gareth Morgan, Endangered Species: New Ideas, 133 BUSINESS
MONTH No. 4, at 75-77 (1989) (cooperation and conflict management are essential
to innovation). The absence of such obstacles is of special import in the new work
environments of cutting-edge businesses, which stress teamwork and the free
movement of ideas between people (see, e.g., WILLIAM G. LEE, MAVERICKS IN THE
WORKPLACE: HARNESSING THE GENIUS OF AMERICAN WORKERS 4 (1998)).
General Motors, for example, strives for a "walls down" work environment to
foster "idea flow" an interactive process of creative brainstorming unhindered by titles and positions. Idea flow cannot be achieved across barriers of racial and
cultural discomfort or among team members who are unable to accept diverse
A corporate management comprising individuals who have never before
experienced the challenges of interracial and cross-cultural interactions that they
will confront in the workplace poses great risks to efficiency and productivity.
First, low-level unease between managers and employees of different races,
ethnicities, and cultures may impede productivity and prevent the formation of the
close working relationships that make a business "hum." Second, managers
unskilled in considering diverse perspectives may fail to recognize excellent ideas
when they come from unexpected sources. Third, a lack of exposure to persons of
different races and ethnicities may result in economically inefficient, and improper,
hiring and promotion decisions, influenced by false stereotypes rather than an
objective assessment of true merit. Such decisions not only destroy morale, but
deprive the business of the benefit of excellent workers' untapped potential. In a
worst-case scenario, insensitivity to racial issues could produce intense conflict or
render a business vulnerable to costly and disruptive discrimination lawsuits.
In sum, the graduates whom businesses recruit from top academic
institutions, such as the University of Michigan, to serve as managers and
professionals, will shape the corporate cultures and reputations for diversity of
those businesses in the years to come. Graduates who lack sensitivity to
perspectives influenced by race will be ill-equipped to meet the fundamental
challenge of attracting, retaining, and managing the human capital that businesses
need to survive.
Establishing trust across racial and cultural lines is a serious corporate
challenge for all businesses that have international aspirations. Businesses that
hire graduates who have been immersed in cross-cultural learning environments
will be better prepared to meet it.
Abundant research has verified Justice Powell's conclusion that racial and
ethnic diversity in institutions of higher education assists students in developing
the skills that, as we have just explained, are so essential to their success in the
business world: (1) understanding the views of persons from different cultures and
(2) addressing issues from multiple perspectives.
Open-mindedness and complex thinking are skills best honed through
exposure to multiple ideas and challenging debate in an educational environment.
Academics attest, and researchers confirm, that racial and ethnic diversity
enhances this process, elevating the level of discourse in institutions of higher
education by exposing students to a broader range of perspectives. Students
emerge from a diverse academic experience with greater tolerance and ability to
interact with persons of other cultures, far less parochial views, and more highly
developed cognitive abilities.
We do not undertake to catalogue the abundant research establishing the
causal relationship between academic diversity and development of these cognitive
and social skills a task that other amici, representing numerous associations of
university educators, have performed. See Brief of Ass'n of American Law
Schools, et al., at 4-16 (E. D. Mich. May 3, 1999) (citing sources); Brief of
American Council on Education, et al., at 7-20 (E. D. Mich. April 30, 1999)
(same). We note only that Judge Duggan had ample basis for his conclusion that
"solid evidence" establishes that "educational benefits * * * flow from a racially
and ethnically diverse student body." Gratz v. Bollinger, slip op. 20 (Dec. 13,
Selective academic institutions offer a large percentage of white students
their first and last opportunity for significant contact with persons of other races
and cultures prior to entering the working world. See Expert Report of Thomas J.
Sugrue, at 3, 22, 37-44 (Dec. 15, 1998); ORFIELD & WHITLA, supra, at 9-13 &
Tables 2-7 (50% of the white students at Harvard Law School and University of
Michigan Law School had little or no interracial contact prior to entering college or
6 Professor Patricia Gurin's research provides especially powerful empirical
support for the proposition that students who "participated in interactions with
diverse peers, were comfortable and prepared to live and work in a diverse
society." Expert Report of Patricia Gurin, at 33 (Dec. 15, 1998). See also GARY
ORFIELD & DEAN WHITLA, THE CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY,
DIVERSITY AND LEGAL EDUCATION: STUDENT EXPERIENCES IN LEADING LAW
law school). Despite our Nation's increasing racial diversity, historical patterns of
de facto segregation in housing, and hence, also in primary and secondary
education, persist. See id. at 10. For many students, then, the college or university
experience presents the first "opportunity to disrupt an insidious cycle of lifetime
segregation." Expert Report of Patricia Gurin, at 33.
It is also the best such opportunity. Of course, many businesses, including
General Motors, can and do provide extensive diversity training to workers after
their arrival in the workforce. But these courses are designed to supplement, not
substitute for, training and experiences most employees should have received
earlier. Should the most selective institutions of higher education return to a state
of de facto segregation as research indicates most will do should the Supreme
Court overrule Bakke and prohibit them from considering race in admissions
decisions 7 businesses will be ill-equipped to bridge the gap.
A diminution of diversity in institutions of higher education would mean that
a huge percentage of their graduates would arrive in the workplace having grown
up in racially and ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods and attended racially
homogeneous schools: environments that empirical studies indicate breed
7 See e.g., Expert Report of Derek Bok at 5-6 (absent consideration of race in
admissions, the representation of blacks in the Nation's premier law schools would
sink to a de minimis level in one calculation, 0.4%).
prejudice and stereotypes.8 Having been "'surrounded only by the likes of
themselves,'" such students are likely to hold highly parochial and limited
perspectives. Bakke, 438 U.S. at 312 n.48 (opinion of Powell, J.) (quoting Bowen,
Admissions and the Relevance of Race, supra, at 9). They also may lack the
breadth of vision and open-mindedness of students who have had more interactions
with persons of other races.
It would be impossible for businesses to play catch-up to teach college
graduates basic social and cognitive skills and values they should have acquired
prior to entry into the workplace. First, businesses lack the pedagogical resources,
including faculty, of academic institutions to provide the same training in these
arenas. Businesses are primarily commercial, not educational, entities, incapable of
replicating the safe academic environments that foster the "robust exchange of
ideas which discovers truth out of a multitude of tongues." Keyishian, 385 U.S. at
603 (internal quotation marks omitted). Second, research suggests that interracial
and cross-cultural contacts diminish prejudice and promote greater understanding
primarily when they occur among individuals of equal status. See e.g., Walter G.
Stephan & John C. Brigham, Intergroup Contact: Introduction, 41 J. SOC. ISSUES
8 See e.g., Expert Report of Thomas Sugrue, at 44; cf. GORDON W. ALLPORT, THE
NATURE OF PREJUDICE 271-272 (1954)
No. 3, at 1, 2 (1985 Expert Report of Gurin at 20. Only schools, not businesses,
offer a forum for cross-cultural contact among a society of equals, free of
hierarchy. Finally, students tend to exhibit greater openness to such lessons at
earlier stages of their development. "Students come to universities at a critical
stage," "a time during which they define themselves in relation to others and
experiment with different social roles." Id. at 4.
Accordingly, universities, not businesses, "are [the] ideal institutions to
foster" the skills and values necessary for participation in a heterogeneous society.
See id. at 9 (emphasis omitted). See generally HARVARD UNIVERSITY, THE
PRESIDENT'S REPORT 1993-1995 at 43-43. As two constitutional scholars recently
observed: "If a far-flung democratic republic as diverse and at times divided
as [modern] America is to survive and flourish, it must cultivate some common
spaces where citizens from every corner of society can come together to learn how
others live, how others think, how others feel. If not in public universities,
where?" Akhil R. Amar & Neal K. Katyal, Bakke's Fate, 43 U.C.L.A. L. Rev.
1745, 1749 (1996).
In sum, institutions of higher learning have a compelling interest in selecting
diverse student bodies: to enhance the educational experiences of students of all
races and equip them with the skills they need to thrive and lead our nation as
citizens and in the new global marketplace.
Institutions of higher learning have a compelling interest in considering race
in admission decisions, not only because diversity enhances the quality of
education, but because diversity enhances the many enterprises students will
undertake following graduation. Selective universities and colleges serve as
training grounds for and gateways to the higher echelons of all realms of American
society, including businesses.
Corporations and others hire from selective academic institutions not only
because they tend to select the students with greatest potential, but also because
they tend to prepare their students well to perform in the top levels of the
workforce. Utilizing the highest quality faculty, most effective curricula, superior
programs and facilities, and most powerful alumni and community contacts, these
universities and colleges offer unparalleled training opportunities. Cf. Sweatt, 339
U.S. at 634. The graduating classes of these institutions therefore, to some extent,
define the pool from which future leaders and managers of the business world will
emerge. Institutions of higher learning thus bear a special responsibility to make
admissions decisions that will not merely reward the past academic performance of
individual students, but enhance our Nation's economic future.
To accomplish that goal, academic institutions must be permitted to continue
to consider, as one factor among many in their selection decisions, the race and
ethnicity of applicants. Absent such consideration, the evidence suggests that the
number of minorities admitted to and graduating from these institutions will
plummet. See p. 23 n.7, supra. Any reduction in diversity at these institutions
accordingly would reduce the diversity of the pool of candidates from which
businesses could select top corporate managers and professionals. That, in turn,
threatens to deprive businesses of the manifold benefits of having a critical mass of
people of color and persons of different ethnicities in their upper ranks and would
strike a harmful blow to our Nation's economic well-being.
In this regard, it is notable that "[h]igher education, by making up for
educational inequities at early stages in life, can be the ramp up to a level playing
field with no further affirmative action for the rest of one's future." Amar &
Katyal, supra, 43 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. at 1749. If courts prohibit institutions of
higher learning from performing this function, businesses will find it more difficult
to find superbly trained minority candidates.
There can be little doubt that racial and ethnic diversity in the senior
leadership of the corporate world is crucial to our Nation's economic prospects.
In a country in which minorities will soon dominate the labor force, commensurate
diversity in the upper ranks of management is increasingly important. A stratified
workforce, in which whites dominate the highest levels of the managerial corps
and minorities dominate the labor corps, may foment racial divisiveness. It also
would be retrogressive, eliminating many of the productivity gains businesses have
made through intensive efforts to eradicate discrimination and improve relations
among workers of different races.
Racial and ethnic diversity in businesses's upper levels also enhances their
productivity and economic opportunities for all of the same reasons that, as we
explained above at pp. 8-14, cross-cultural competence in managers of any race or
ethnicity does. First, racial diversity among managers improves recruiting,
retention, and morale of workers who are minorities. Second, "[i]ncreasing the
number of minorities * * * in areas such as product development, marketing and
advertising allows companies to maximize their ability to tap into many segments
of the consumer market." GLASS CEILING COMM'N REPORT at 4. See also
CITIZENS' COMM'N ON CIVIL RIGHTS, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TO OPEN THE DOORS OF
JOB OPPORTUNITY 141 (1984). Third, corporations with racially diverse
management teams are better positioned to identify global opportunities and to
develop strong relationships with heterogeneous business partners. See e.g.,
Fernandez, supra, at 224.
In addition, abundant evidence suggests that heterogeneous work teams
create better and more innovative products and ideas than homogeneous teams.
Homogeneity often causes teams to suffer from lock-step "group think." See e.g.,
Charlan J. Nemeth, Differential Contributions of Majority and Minority Influence,
93 PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW No. 1, at 23-32 (1986); Sumita Raghuram & Raghu
Garud, The Vicious and Virtuous Facets of Workforce Diversity, in SELECTED
RESEARCH ON WORK TEAM DIVERSITY 155, 156, 160 (Marian N. Ruderman et al.
eds., 1996); JOHN P. FERNANDEZ, THE DIVERSITY ADVANTAGE 284-285 (1993).
The most innovative companies therefore deliberately establish heterogeneous
teams in order to "'create a marketplace of ideas,' recognizing that a multiplicity of
points of view need to be brought to bear on a problem." ROSABETH MOSS
KANTER, THE CHANGE MASTERS: INNOVATIONS FOR PRODUCTIVITY IN THE
AMERICAN CORPORATION 167 (1983).
In short, as GM Chairman Jack Smith has said, diversity in the workplace "is
community_involvement/diversity/index.htm>(4/27/00). The chief executive ___________________
global marketplace." EEAC, Special Memorandum, Critical Issues In the
Empirical research buttresses the conclusion of these corporate executives
General Motors strongly believes that the future of American businesses ___________________
institutions of higher learning must be permitted to continue to achieve the
For the reasons stated, this Court should hold that the government has a
Pursuant to Sixth Circuit Appellate Procedure Rule 26.1, General Motors
much more than a human issue: it [is] also * * * good business." See "General
Motors Diversity Management,"
officers of numerous Fortune 500 companies agree. As Robert J. Eaton, then-
Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Corporation, explained, "workforce diversity is a
competitive advantage. Our success as a global community is as dependent on
utilizing the wealth of backgrounds, skills, and opinions that a diverse workforce
offers, as it is on raw materials, technology and processes." EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
1998, at 10.9 Indeed, the Equal Employment Advisory Council ("EEAC"), a group
comprising leading corporate policy makers, has concluded that workplace
diversity is so important that affirmative action is often appropriate to achieve it. It
reasons in part that a diverse workforce is essential to "compete effectively in a
9 See also id. at 34 ("we see diversity in the background and talent of our
associates as a competitive advantage and as a commitment that is a daily
responsibility'") (quoting M. Douglas Ivester, then-Chairman and CEO of The
Coca Cola Company); Robert A. Rosenblatt, PG & E Wins Federal Affirmative
Action Award, L.A. TIMES, Dec. 19, 1989, at D2 ("We are convinced that this
investment in equal opportunity pays high dividends.'") (quoting George A.
Maneatis, then-President of Pacific Gas & Elec. Co.); Kenneth Labich, Employees
Must Reflect the Diverse World, FORTUNE, Mar. 26, 1990, at 56 ("Any business
climate in which broadly different individuals may succeed will be a climate where
the whole organization prospers.'") (quoting James R. Houghton, then-Chairman
and CEO of Corning Inc.); Janine S. Hiller & Stephen P. Ferris, Separating Myth
From Reality: An Economic Analysis of Voluntary Affirmative Action Programs,
23 MEMPHIS ST. U. L. REV. 773, 777 & n.20 (1993) (observing that it is now
commonly accepted in business circles that "diversity is good for business").
Affirmative Action Debate: Exec. Order 11,246, at 4, 10 (Mar. 17, 1995). 10
and industry representatives that workforce diversity is important to effective
competition in today's market. The federal Glass Ceiling Commission, for
instance, reported that "[i]ndependent research has shown that companies that go
the extra mile in hiring and promoting minorities and women are more profitable."
Glass Ceiling Comm'n Report at 2. Other studies have reached similar
conclusions. See e.g., Hiller & Ferris, supra, at 794.
depends upon the availability of a diverse group of well-trained graduates. Only
with the contributions of the best and brightest of every race, ethnicity, and culture
can American businesses continue to create the world's most innovative products,
manage the world's most productive work forces, and expand their operations
across the globe. For the sake of the Nation's collective economic future,
10 Accord, e.g., Diversity in the Workplace: Class Action Suits A Major Concern
for the Fortune 500, CHI. TRIB., June 17, 1997, at N2 (EEAC spokesman stating
that most Fortune 500 companies agree with President Clinton's "mend-it-don't-
end-it'" approach to affirmative action). See also Jonathan Kaufman,
Management: How Workplaces May Look Without Affirmative Action, WALL ST.
J., Mar. 20, 1995, at B1.
diversity that enhances both the education of these individuals and the endeavors
that they will undertake as graduates.
compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits of diversity in higher
education and that admissions parameters that are narrowly tailored to ensure a
diverse, heterogenous student body are permissible under the Constitution.
Thomas A. Gottschalk
Sr. Vice President & General
Francis S. Jaworski
300 Renaissance Center
P.O. Box 300
Detroit, MI 48265-3000
May 30, 2001
Kenneth S. Geller
MAYER, BROWN & PLATT
1909 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
General Motors Corporation
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
Corporation makes the following disclosure:
32(a)(7)(B)(iii), the brief contains 6,939 words.
Word Perfect 6.1 in Times New Roman 14 point type.
version of the brief and/or a copy of the work or line printout.
completing this certificate, or circumvention of the type-volume limits
in FRAP 32(a)(7) may result in the Court's striking the brief and
imposing sanctions against the person signing the brief.
community_involvement/diversity/index.htm>(4/27/00). The chief executive
global marketplace." EEAC, Special Memorandum, Critical Issues In the
Empirical research buttresses the conclusion of these corporate executives
General Motors strongly believes that the future of American businesses
institutions of higher learning must be permitted to continue to achieve the
For the reasons stated, this Court should hold that the government has a
Pursuant to Sixth Circuit Appellate Procedure Rule 26.1, General Motors
I hereby certify that, on this 30th day of May 2001, pursuant to FRAP 25
and 6 Cir. R. 31, I caused a copy of the foregoing Brief of General Motors
Corporation as Amicus Curiae in Support of Defendants-Appellants to be filed by
UPS Overnight Service, with:
Bryant Crutcher, Office of the ClerkI further certify that, on the same day and pursuant to the same provisions, I
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
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