21. "The Bakke Case: A Whitewash?"
The Bakke case has created a high emotional state on both sides of
the issue of affirmative action. America may have been misled and not
fully informed as to all the facts surrounding this case.
Bakke went to court complaining that he was denied admission to the
U.C. Davis Medical School on the grounds that he was white. He argued
that this violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
The trial court agreed with Bakke as did the California State Supreme
Court. They voted with Bakke by a vote of 6-1. The State Supreme Court
ruled that the U.C. admissions program was unconstitutional.
The University perfunctorily went to court to defend itself. The Supreme
Court of California reportedly failed to hear all the evidence surrounding
this case. Many members of the minority community of California believe
that U.C. wanted to rid itself of the admissions program, one that they
never wanted, and as a result left much to be desired in their handling
of this affair.
Bakke, reportedly, was encouraged by an admissions official at the
Davis campus to file suit; this official is reported to have provided
Bakke with the names of attorneys sympathetic to Bakke's cause and leaked
information about the academic prowess of students admitted under the
program. Moreover, University counsel agreed with Bakke's lawyer to
try the case without oral testimony; this being the case at the appellate
level. No expert testimony describing the purpose of the program or
explaining why traditional criteria is obsolete in assessing the true
potential of minority candidates was submitted into evidence. No data
explaining the compelling need for doctors in the minority communities
was submitted. The U.C. lawyers never made mention to the court that
the dean's special admissions program, under which politically and well
financed University supporters are admitted in spite of being less qualified
than other applicants, including Bakke, was in existence and being practiced
Bakke may not have been excluded for the reasons he is protesting;
he may not have a case built on the 14th amendment when all the facts
are taken into consideration.
This story, due to its lack of public attention to all the issues and
facts, is nominated as one of the "best censored stories of 1977."
"Are Racial Quotas Defensible?", by Charles Lawerence III,
Current, December, 1977, pp. 3-10.