Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. It upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy. However, the court ruled that specific racial quotas, such as the 16 out of 100 seats set aside for minority students by UC Davis, were impermissible.
About Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke in brief
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. It upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy. However, the court ruled that specific racial quotas, such as the 16 out of 100 seats set aside for minority students by UC Davis, were impermissible. The practical effect of Bakke was that most affirmative action programs continued without change. Questions about whether the Bakke case was merely a plurality opinion or binding precedent were answered in 2003 when the court upheld Powell’s position in a majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger. In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme court ruled segregation by race in public schools to be unconstitutional. In the following fifteen years, the Court issued landmark rulings in cases involving race and civil liberties, but left supervision of the desegregation of Southern schools mostly to lower courts. The case fractured the court; the nine justices issued a total of six opinions; two different blocs of four justices joined various parts of Powell’s opinion. The court ruled in Brown that it was not enough to eliminate racially discriminatory practices; state governments were under an obligation to actively work to desegregate schools. By 1968, integration of public schools was well advanced. Although public universities were integrated by court decree, selective colleges and graduate programs, and the professions which stemmed from them, remained almost all white. Many African-Americans had attended inferior schools and were ill-prepared to compete in the admissions process.
This was unsatisfactory to many activists of the late 1960s, who protested that given the African-American’s history of discrimination and poverty, some preference should be given to minorities. The Supreme Court had outlawed segregation in schools, and had even ordered school districts to take steps to assure integration. This became a commonly held liberal position, and large numbers of public and private universities began affirmative action Programs. In 1968, UC Davis began a admissions program to compensate victims of unjust societal discrimination, and by this time, the school had an all-white class of 50. In 1971, there were 16 seats to be filled by a special committee, which was nominally open to whites, but no one of race was admitted under the program. The class doubled in size in 1971, and there were eight seats, and eight were put aside for minorities, when the size of the class was 50. While there were no specific quotas, there was a specific number of seats that were filled by the special committee on which more than half the members were from minority groups. In this way, the program was unusual in that there was no specific race that was allowed to be admitted under affirmative action. In 1973, the California Supreme Court struck down the program as violative of the rights of white applicants and ordered Bakke admitted. In that year, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action in general was allowed under the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.