In the 1970s, The University of California Davis Medical School’s affirmative program set a racial quota, which set aside 16% of their applicants. A white student that applied but didn’t get in, named Allan Bakke, sued the school for its violation to his equal protection right given by the 14th Amendment. At the end of the case, the Supreme Court ruled in Allan Bakke’s favor, and banned racial quotas from all schools. However, they still allow schools to have race as a factor in deciding to let a student in their school, which is very controversial in our world today. Before this case, the government and federal courts were doing basically the same thing as UC Davis, which was making it a priority to hire more minorities. Other schools also did this, where they would go out of their way to diversify their student bodies.
Even after the Brown vs Board of Education case, schools barely changed their ways of admissions. But, later on, schools started developing programs that would bring notice to people about how much African Americans weren’t represented enough and that schools needed to change their ways. Because of this, some High Schools started to better prepare their African American students for college by having classes that set them up better for academics to have better admission chances for colleges.
Other schools started to give colleges a target racial quota for them to meet every year to help minorities with their chances to get into the schools they want to go to. The University of California Davis was a school that started doing these target racial quotas to diversify their student body. The school specifically set out 16 of its 100 spots to give to minority students.
UC Davis Medical School thought that they had taken a reasonable approach to trying to diversify the student body and the doctors that attend the school. Allan Bakke, did not think this was a fair idea to the applicants that were not a minority. He was rejected twice by the school, even though he had degrees from both the University of Minnesota and Stanford, and had also served in the Vietnam War.
Not only that, he also had better grades and better test scores than all of the 16 applicants. So, Bakke argued that the school violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, which led him to sue the school. The medical school claims that other things had to do with why Bakke was rejected, like his interview with the school. Defenders of the school pointed out that other applicants with higher scores than the minority applicants, also were denied acceptance into the school.
When Bakke took the case to the Yolo County Court, it was appealed to the Supreme Court. And when the case made its way to the Supreme Court, these reasonings did not matter. The main question with the Supreme Court was whether or not this racial quota was fair with the 14th amendment and that race shouldn’t even be a factor with school admissions.
On June 26, 1968, the Supreme Court reached a split decision. The decision reached was a 5 to 4 vote in favor of Bakke which allowed his acceptance to the school because it was proved to be a violation of the 14th amendment. But, the Court also did say that race can still be a factor in school admissions. Trying to make the student body more diverse was a “constitutionally permissible goal,” the court did say, and that “race or ethnic background may be deemed a ‘plus’ in a particular applicant’s file.” But, the Supreme Court did say lastly that the racial quota “would hinder rather than further attainment of genuine diversity.
” The Regents of University of California vs Bakke case created an affirmative action program across schools in the US. Racial quotas were also banned from all universities, but it is still allowed for race to be one of the many factors that schools may consider. Lastly, this case was also impactful for the Grutter vs Bollinger in the University of Michigan case back in 2003.