Regents of University of California v. Bakke Affirmative Action Case (1978)

Court Decisions Read more from
Chapter The Burger Court (1969–86)

Justice Lewis Powell (concurring): “The guarantee of equal protection cannot mean one thing when applied to one individual and something else when applied to a person of another color. If both are not accorded the same protection, it is not equal…. Preferring members of any one group for no reason other than race or ethnic origin is discrimination for its own sake. This the Constitution forbids.”

Harry Blackmun (dissenting): “I suspect it would be impossible to arrange an affirmative-action program in a racially neutral way and have it successful. To ask that this be so is to demand the impossible. In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently. We cannot—we dare not—let the Equal Protection Clause perpetuate racial supremacy.”


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