Major Decisions-Regents of U. of California v. Bakke

Major Decisions-Regents of U. of California v. Bakke

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Major Decisions-Regents of U. of California v. Bakke

The Supreme Court of the United States seems to
have dealt with the many numerous issues that have proven to be of controversy
in the United States in modern history. One of these disputes is the
institution of affirmative action in the United States.

Affirmative Action history can
be argued to have its roots since the abolition of slavery and the suffrage
movements of both African-Americans and women. However, in modern applications,
the concept of affirmative action would be more distinctly defined in the
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke Supreme Court case. Through
this case, the affirmative action agenda would be brought before the courts and
its outcome would define the scope of the application of affirmative action in
terms of its constitutionality.

It is important to note that the Bakke case did not involve a minority
seeking to employ affirmative action as a means to accomplish a certain act. In
fact, it was something more along the lines of its opposite occurrence, in
which a white student sought admission into the University of California Davis
Medical School.

Allan Bakke had applied to the University
on two separate occasions and was denied admission, while students that were
considered members of minority groups were being accepted who had significantly
lower academic scores and accomplishments than Bakke. Bakke would then bring
the matter to the courts, stating that the affirmative action program of the
school was being used to exclude him from admission based on race. Therefore,
such action was a direct violation of the Fourteenth Amendment
under the Equal Protection Clause.

The
University would subsequently provide for a counter-claim which declared that
the school’s affirmative action special admission program was carrying out its
duties in a lawful manner.
 

The Chief Justice presiding over the Bakke case was Warren E. Burger. After investigating the
matter and evaluating the special program implemented by the University, the
Supreme Court would rule in favor of Bakke. The Supreme Court would find that
the practice of the University instituting a form of quotas regarding the
acceptance of minority students was an unconstitutional practice. For example,
the Davis Medical School would reserve 16 seats out of 100 for minority
students, leaving the remaining 84 seats to be filled under regular admissions
procedures.

The Supreme
Court ruled that the University could not take race into account in regards to
making admissions decisions. This was in direct violation of two Constitutional
statutes: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth
Amendment. Title VI stated that no racial or ethnic preference shall be given
or granted to any particular group by any institution or program that was Federally
funded. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, it was deemed that reserving a number
of seats for minority students denied Bakke equal protection as provided by the
Constitution.

However, it
is important to note that in the actual decision in the
 Bakke case, there was no actual majority reached by the Supreme Court.
Furthermore, the Court did not rule on the implementation of the affirmative
action practice in general. Two factors were considered by the Supreme Court.
The factors were whether or not race could be used as a factor among many
others in admissions programs and whether a program could exclude members using
race as a basis. The majority would only be reached–and a slight one at
that–on the matter of members being excluded, which was deemed
unconstitutional.
 

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