University of Michigan case may be historic in setting limits on affirmative action in admission policies: Fairfield University Supreme Court specialist


The Supreme Court's decision to immediately release audiotapes of oral arguments made in the University of Michigan affirmative action case is unusual and points to how significant the court believes the case to be, said Donald Greenberg, Ph.D., associate professor of politics at Fairfield University in Connecticut. Arguments in the case begin tomorrow.

"It obviously shows the court understands the political importance of this decision," Dr. Greenberg said. "This may be the case that firmly establishes the limits on affirmative action - the degree to which race can or cannot be used to determine admission to institutions of higher learning."

The Supreme Court usually does not make tapes available until after a decision is made, which can be anywhere from two to five months after the arguments, Dr. Greenberg said. The last time the court immediately released tapes was in the case of Bush vs. Gore, which decided the 2000 election, he added.

Dr. Greenberg teaches two upper level courses on the Supreme Court that examine the individual and the court as well as the relationship between the court and the remainder of the political system, including the political environment in which the court functions. Dr. Greenberg also teaches urban politics and media and politics.

Dr. Greenberg previously taught at Brooklyn College. He is the author of "The Politics of Privilege: Governing the Affluent Suburb," published by University Press of America, in which he looked into the myths of suburban life.

The media frequently call on Dr. Greenberg to give his analysis of Supreme Court issues and the political scene in general. He has been quoted in several papers nationwide, including the New York Times. A graduate of Alfred University in New York with a bachelor's degree in history, he did graduate work at Brooklyn College and earned a doctorate at City University of New York.

Dr. Greenberg will be available at home at (203) 576-1123. During the day, you can try his office number, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2860.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 31, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 251