Reverse Discrimination: The Case of Allan Bakke Essay

Reverse Discrimination: The Case of Allan Bakke Essay

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Reverse Discrimination


In 1973 a thirty-three year-old Caucasian male named Allan Bakke applied to and was denied admission to the University of California Medical School at Davis. In 1974 he filed another application and was once again rejected, even though his test scores were considerably higher than various minorities that were admitted under a special program. This special program specified that 16 out of 100 possible spaces for the students in the medical program were set aside solely for minorities, while the other 84 slots were for anyone who qualified, including minorities. What happened to Bakke is known as reverse discrimination. Bakke felt his rejections to be violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment, so he took the University of California Regents to the Superior Court of California. It was ruled that "the admissions program violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment"1 The clause reads as follows:"...No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor without due process of the law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."2 The court ruled that race could not be a factor in admissions. However, they did not force the admittance of Bakke because the court could not know if he would have been admitted if the special admissions program for minorities did not exist.

Bakke disagreed with the court on this issue and he brought it before the California Supreme Court.The California Supreme Court held that it was the University's burden to prove that Bakke would not have been admitted if the special program was not in effect. The school could not meet this requirement, and Bakke was admitted by court orde r. However, the University appealed to the Supreme Court for "certiorari", which was granted, and the order to admit Bakke was suspended pending thCourt's decision.3 The Issues and Arguments for Each Side"Bakke was the most significant civil rights case to reach the United States Supreme Court since Brown v. Board the Education of Topeka, Kansas."4 The special admissions program at Davis tried to further integrate the higher education system because merely removing the barriers, as the Brown case did, did not always work. In short, Bakke was questioning how far the Universi...


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...erm, the Supreme Court will turn towards desegregation and Affirmative Action. The Freeman v. Pitts case is another recent case dealing with whether bussing is still needed to curb past discrimination.Another case that the court has accepted for this term will examine whether colleges should eliminate racial preference systems in admissions or whether quotas are still needed to further curtail the use of affirmative action.

The name of this case and the specific facts, however, were unavailable at this time.9 Obviously affirmative action and reverse discrimination are still heavily debated issues. This is because they affect all people of all races and ethnicities. Conclusion Allan Bakke was denied his fourteenth amendment right to equal protection of the laws. In addition the University of California at Davis violated Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. By order of the Supreme Court Bakke was admitted and th e numerical quotas of the special admissions program were deemed unconstitutional. Justice was served to Bakke, but future generations who are not minorities may be plagued by the other half of the decision: That race may still be used as a "plus" on an application.

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