Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Philo A. Hutcheson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rodney Lyn, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Hayward Richardson, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Werner Rogers, Ed.D.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

STUDENT ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION

A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF LANDMARK SUPREME COURT CASES

MISSOURI EX. REL. GAINES V. CANADA, REGISTRAR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, 1938,

AND

GRUTTER V. BOLLINGER, 2003

by

Ansley Knox Daniel

The purpose of this study is to identify primary themes related to student access to higher education and establishing diversity in higher education classrooms through a comparative analysis of the 1938 Gaines v. Canada case and the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case. Both of these Supreme Court opinions have significantly impacted student access to higher education. The landmark ruling in Gaines inaugurated a new and ground-breaking series of legal victories that opened minority student access to higher education and eventually to secondary education. In Grutter, the Supreme Court upheld the use of race as one of many factors that can be used to consider in the student admissions process in higher education to encourage diversity in student populations and in leadership opportunities. Using a methodology of historiography of education law, the intention of this study is to expand the historical and legal implications of the Gaines and Grutter cases, focusing on the application of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the relationship between the outcomes of the cases and the judicial interpretation employed by the justices. In Grutter, while considering narrow-tailoring and strict scrutiny to check for the legal development and implementation of affirmative action policies, the justices prioritize providing equal access to higher education for all students and ensuring meaningful diversity in university classrooms for an extended, but still limited, time period. It is valuable for historians of the law and members of the legal profession to consider the notion of active liberty articulated by Justice Stephen Breyer (2005) when developing their interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause and how it should be applied.

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