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Regents of The University of California v Bakke [1978] 438 US 265

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 21/04/2024 20:37

Judgement for the case Regents of The University of California v Bakke

KEY POINTS

  • The Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause ensures that all individuals receive equal treatment under the law, prohibiting discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or other factors. 

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment and public accommodations, including programs receiving federal funding. Together, these legal pillars form the foundation for combating discrimination and advancing civil rights in the United States.

FACTS

  • UC Davis Medical School(‘Defendant”) had two admissions programs: regular and special.

    • Regular admissions involved GPA cutoffs and interviews, while special admissions targeted disadvantaged minority applicants without a GPA cutoff.

    • The white male (“Plaintiff”) applied twice under the regular admissions but was rejected despite high scores.

    • He sued, alleging discrimination based on race and violation of constitutional and statutory rights.

  • The trial court found the special program operated as a racial quota but didn't order the Plaintiff's admission due to lack of evidence.

  • The state Supreme Court ruled the special program violated equal protection and ordered the plaintiff's admission since the university couldn't prove he wouldn't have been admitted otherwise.

JUDGEMENT

  • The judgment was affirmed insofar as it ordered the respondent's admission to Davis and invalidated the petitioner's special admissions program.

  • Still, it was reversed insofar as it prohibited the petitioner from considering race as a factor in its future admissions decisions. T

  • he California court affirmed the decision in part and reversed it in part.

COMMENTARY

  • This case outlines a legal case involving UC Davis Medical School's admissions programs and highlights the intersection of constitutional principles and statutory law in combating discrimination.

  • The discussion begins by emphasizing the significance of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in safeguarding against discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and other factors.

    • These legal frameworks establish that all individuals are entitled to equal treatment under the law, particularly in areas such as employment, public accommodations, and educational opportunities.

  • The case involved UC Davis Medical School's admissions policies, comprising regular and special admissions programs.

    • The distinction between these programs, particularly the absence of a GPA cutoff in the special admissions program targeted at disadvantaged minority applicants, raises questions about fairness and equality in the admissions process.

    • The plaintiff, a white male, alleged discrimination based on race and violation of constitutional and statutory rights after being rejected twice under the regular admissions program despite high scores.

    • These assertions challenged the special admissions program, which appeared to give preferential treatment to minority applicants, and suggested it violated equal protection principles.

  • The trial court's finding that the special program operated as a racial quota underscored the complexities and controversies surrounding affirmative action policies in education.

    • While acknowledging the potential for discrimination, the court's decision not to order the plaintiff's admission due to lack of evidence highlights the importance of substantiating discrimination claims with concrete proof.

  • The state Supreme Court's ruling that the special program violated equal protection and ordering the plaintiff's admission reflects a commitment to upholding constitutional principles of fairness and equality.

    • Yet, the court's decision to reverse the prohibition on considering race as a factor in future admissions decisions introduces a nuanced perspective on affirmative action and diversity initiatives in higher education.

  • This case exemplifies the ongoing legal debates surrounding affirmative action, equal protection, and diversity in education, highlighting the delicate balance between promoting inclusivity and ensuring fairness in admissions practices.

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