Jennifer Gratz is a modern-day civil rights leader. In 1997 she challenged race preferences (also known as affirmative action) at the University of Michigan and was victorious at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ms. Gratz was the lead plaintiff in the landmark case Gratz v. Bollinger which challenged affirmative action at the University of Michigan. On June 23, 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ms. Gratz was discriminated against and U-M’s admission policy was unconstitutional. However, in a companion case decided the same day (Grutter v. Bollinger), the Supreme Court allowed race preferences to continue at U-M’s law school. Ms. Gratz called the split decision flawed and continued the fight for equality in her home state. She spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), a state constitutional amendment that made race and gender preferences unconstitutional in public education, employment and contracting. In Nov 2006 Michigan voters approved MCRI by a 16-point landslide.
At CPAC following the Michigan vote, Ms. Gratz was honored with the prestigious Ronald Reagan Award from the American Conservative Union for leadership. Jennifer has spent many years working to end programs that grant preferential treatment based on race or sex and because of Ms. Gratz’s leadership eight states have now banned race and gender preferences.
Recently, Ms. Gratz co-founded the XIV Foundation (XIV) and Equal Protection Advocates (EPA). XIV, named after the 14th amendment, is a not-for-profit 501c3 dedicated to teaching the personal and societal advantages of fair and equal treatment. EPA is a 501c4 dedicated to advocating for fair and equal treatment without regard to race or gender for all Americans.
Ms. Gratz’s story and work has been featured in nearly every major media outlet – Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Dateline, 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, LA Times, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, National Review, US News and World Report, Newsweek, Time Magazine, People Magazine, Glamour Magazine – to name a few.
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Michigan Lawyers Chapter
March 11, 2014
Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
October 17, 2013
July 02, 2008