Bakke vs. University of California
FEW issues today have generated more widespread debate or created more difficult problems than the issue of special preference for “minority groups” in employment and education. Over the last ten years or so an increasing number of social-policy decisions and practices, growing out of the affirmative-action programs undertaken in the name of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, have depended upon the criterion of race as a means of eliminating discrimination or of improving the condition of “disadvantaged minorities” in American society.* These decisions and practices have aroused a storm of controversy, for the use of race as a qualifying standard has itself seemed to many to be racially discriminatory and a violation of the principle of equal treatment under law.
This past year, the various complex issues involved in the theory and practice of preferential treatment and “reverse discrimination” were focused dramatically in the decision rendered by the California Supreme Court in the case of Allan Bakke.
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