Affirmative Action: University of California vs. David Bakke

Essay by lgregorio8College, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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The Supreme Court case, University of California vs. Bakke was a law suit filed against the University by a white male student by the name of Alan Bakke in 1978. Bakke had applied and been rejected from medical school twice due to the fact that the medical school had been reserving 16 out of 100 open spots for less qualified students that were of a minority race. Bakke then filed the lawsuit which went to Supreme Court for the discriminatory treatment against white students applying for medical school.

The Supreme Court justices ruling this case had many views toward making the decision as well as much disagreement among each other. Among the justices was, the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Powell, Mr. Justice Stewart, Mr. Justice Rehnquist, Mr. Justice Stevens, Mr. Justice Brennan, Mr. Justice White, Mr. Justice Marshall, and Mr. Justice Blackmun. The decision they had made ruled the numerical quota of the University violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

They ordered that Alan Bakke be accepted into the University. Although, they ruled their admissions process to be ceased they agreed that race and ethnicity could be used in the admissions process only as a "plus factor" and not a guarantee into the school.

Mr. Justice Powell announced the court's ruling. The decision was split between 9 justices. Mr. Justice Powell, Mr. Justice Brennan, Mr. Justice White, Mr. Justice Marshall, and Mr. Justice Blackmun agreed that race could be taken into consideration in order to ameliorate the discrimination in past history. They agreed affirmative action was a positive step but should be limited as a "plus factor" rather than a reserved and guaranteed spot. They were represented by Mr. Justice Powell.

The other Supreme Court Justices agreed that race should and could be a factor in the...