California Vs Bakke Case Study Essay

1. The court case that will be written about is Regents of the University of California v. Bakke 1978.

2. Before this case took place, there had recently been many cases and laws that had been implemented regarding racial segregation and discrimination. In 1964, The Civil Rights Act passed which forbids racial discrimination in any program or activity receiving federal funding ((2)”Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.”). The main law that was put into question and was used in the persecutor’s argument was the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Bakke believed that his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment were being violated by UC Davis’s admission program.

3. Allan Bakke was a 35-year-old white male who after serving in the Marine Corps in Vietnam and working as an engineer for NASA, developed an interest in medicine. Bakke applied to UC Davis and was rejected even though he had attained a GPA and MCAT grade above the school’s average. Along with excellent academic recognition, he also had very good credentials beyond the classroom and was even interviewed by UC Davis’s Dr. Theodore West who stated that Bakke was, “a very desirable applicant who I will recommend” ((2)”Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.”).

After a rejection letter in 1973, Bakke reapplied to the university in 1974 and was once again rejected although minorities were accepted into the school with significantly lower academic scores. This case was occurring during a time period where minorities were beginning to become recognized and were fighting for equal rights to a higher education. Some colleges, including UC Davis’s Medical School, reserved sixteen spots in each entering class of one hundred students for minorities. This was a part of the school’s affirmative action program that gave minorities a better opportunity for a higher education, which had not been seen before. Bakke contended in the California Courts and then went on to the Supreme Court, in which he stated that he was excluded from admission solely because of his race (1)”Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.”).

4. The Regents of the University of California won by a 5-4 decision favoring the Regents over Bakke. This decision extended the benefits for racial minorities through affirmative action. Even though Bakke lost this case, the Court still made an 8-1 decision in allowing Bakke to be admitted into UC Davis’s Medical School through Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provided Bakke a cause of action ((1)”Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.”).

5. The central reasoning for the opinion behind the Regents of the University of California was the favor of the continuation of affirmative action. In the joint opinion, it is written that, “government may take race into account when it acts not to demean or insult any racial group, but to remedy disadvantages cast on minorities by past racial prejudice” (“Regents of the Uni V. of Cal. V. Bakke | US Law.”). They suggested that any admissions program with the intention of going past race discrimination would be constitutional, whether it meant adding “bonus points” or setting aside a certain number of seats reserved for racial minorities.

Court Justice White expressed his opinion stating that in his view there was no private right of action under the Title VI. Court Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote that he looked back into the racial discrimination history against African Americans, and concluded that the way minorities were treated was impermissible and this broadens the opportunities for minorities now than ever before. Lastly, Court Justice Blackmun added that he believed in the idea of color consciousness and said that, “in order to go beyond racism, we must first take account of race” ((2)”Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.”).

6. The effect of this case was that racial quotas were ruled to be unconstitutional, while affirmative action programs would remain constitutional. These affirmative action programs would rule as constitutional as long as race is one of many admission factors, it is used to remedy past findings of discrimination, or to promote the school’s diversity levels. This also allowed more diversity to be added to universities and this topic would be brought up once again in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) where Bakke’s case requirements allowed the University of Michigan’s affirmative action program to pass through by having the interest of a diverse student body and giving significant but not determinative weight to its applicants’ race. (“The Supreme Court. Expanding Civil Rights. Landmark Cases. Regents of California v. Bakke (1978).”)

7. Court Justices Stevens, Burger, Stewart, and Rehnquist all concurred and dissented in part of this judgement. They believed that it was not necessary to determine whether a racial preference was allowed under the Constitution. Justice Stevens believed that according to Title VI, “Race could not be the basis of excluding anyone from a federally funded program.” ((2)”Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.”).