Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke that affirmative action practices were not in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment if they did not use quota systems and race was considered merely as a factor in admissions. The decision in this case reflected the views of many in the nation concerning affirmative action at that time. The Aquinas, which is the University of Scranton student newspaper, published two articles in that same year that give us a clear view of the opinions of the students and faculty on Regents of the University of California v. Bakke specifically and on the issue of affirmative action generally.

In the article “Bakke: The True Solution”, the author, John Dougherty, argues in favor of affirmative action, while acknowledging that such policies may unfairly disadvantage an isolated group of individuals. In the case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, that individual was a student named Alan Bakke, who was twice denied admission to the university despite performing better than the minorities who were admitted through the university’s affirmative action program. While Dougherty does not deny that this is unjust, he argues that it is a necessary injustice. As he says, “The injustice done to Alan Bakke and others like him must be part of the payment made for wrongs we as a nation have committed.” 

Another article, “Comments on Bakke”, by Dr. Capestasy makes the case that affirmative action can accomplish the good results it seeks without using quota systems, which he maintains are unjust. Instead, as he suggests, universities can be sensitive to and help minorities through affirmative action, without making use of quota systems. As he says, “the question is not whether race can be used but how it can be used.” Overall, Capestasy applauds the decision in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke as it upheld the practice of affirmative action, which he believes to be morally correct, and struck down the use of quota systems, which he holds to be unjust.