Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

(1978)

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke was the first important U.S. Supreme Court decision to test Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibiting racial discrimination in public education and other endeavors receiving federal funds. In the 1970s, the University of California at Davis School of Medicine had what amounted to dual admission standards based on race. Each year one hundred students were admitted to the medical program, but a number of them were subject to different, more lenient admissions requirements. Sixteen spaces were reserved for “disadvantaged” students, who could identify themselves on the application form as belonging to a minority group or as disadvantaged either economically or educationally. Candidates in this group did not have to meet the same minimum grade point average, and they were compared with one another rather than with the entire pool of applicants.

Allan Bakke, a white male applicant, was rejected by the regular admissions...

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Lewis Powell (Library of Congress)

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