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Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

United States Supreme Court
438 U.S. 265 (1978)


Facts

In 1973, the Medical School of the University of California at Davis (defendant) implemented a special admissions program intended to raise enrollment levels of minority students. Bakke (plaintiff) was a white male who applied for admission in 1973 and 1974 and was rejected both years. Bakke filed suit in the state courts of California alleging that the special admission program violated the California Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The trial court ruled in favor of Bakke and issued an injunction prohibiting the school from basing any admissions decision on the applicant’s race. The trial court declined to order that the school accept Bakke because it concluded that Bakke had failed to prove that he would have been admitted in the absence of the restrictions of the special admissions program. Bakke appealed to the state supreme court. The supreme court affirmed the trial court’s judgment with respect to its findings of constitutional violations, but instructed the trial court to issue an order directing the school to admit Bakke. The school petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

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Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

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Concurrence/Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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