United States Supreme Court
Case No. 7811

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

Argued: October 12, 1977
Decided: June 28, 1978


The Case

Allan Bakke (b. 1940) was a Vietnam War veteran who, after being turned down by 11 medical schools, discovered that that the University of California had an affirmative action policy that allotted a spot for 16 "disadvantaged students," on the basis of race. Bakke, who was academically stronger than several of these students, filed suit in the Superior Court of Yolo County, California in 1974. The Yolo County Court ruled that the quota policy of the Regents of the University of California violated both state and federal constitutions and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, they did not allow Bakke's admission because it was not proven that he would have been admitted had the quota not been in place.

Following the Yolo County decision, Bakke appealed to the California Supreme Court for admittance into the University of Califoria, Davis medical program in 1976. The state supreme court ruled in Bakke's favor ordering the university to admit Bakke.

The University argues the California Supreme Court decision to the United States Supreme Court.

The Decision

In a highly divided 5-4 ruling, Justice Powell upheld the California Supreme Court decision and ruled that the University of California quota system was unconstitutional, The policy of affirmative action was also upheld, in that race could be a considering factor in the admissions process.


* In 1995 the University of California abolished affirmative action. This is of course, a joke to some degree because there are still programs and special cases for "underrepresented" groups, but has also destroyed the ethnic diversity the University of California was once known for.

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