Regents of the University of California at Davis v. Bakke (1978)
Allan Bakke, a Vietnam veteran, wanted to become a doctor. However, he had been turned down by eleven medical schools. He then learned that the University of California at Davis, a local medical school, had accepted minority students who were less qualified academically. In suing them on grounds of reverse discrimination, it was brought to light that the University, as part of their affirmative action program, held sixteen places each year for "disadvantaged students." The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action. However, it also ruled that Bakke must be accepted to U.C. at Davis Medical School because they used race as the sole reason for reserving sixteen places for minority students. The University could consider race in admitting students. So, while upholding the policy of affirmative action, the Court decided that a system of strict quotas based on race was in violation of the Civil Rights Act of1964 and thus unconstitutional.
Copyright © 1997 Jonathan Chin & Alan Stern