National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1970-1987: We wrestle with our democratic freedoms, arguing issues old and new

June 28, 1978
Affirmative action tests our attitudes toward race and equality

Allan Bakke's first day of school

Trying to enroll more African Americans and other minorities, UC-Davis Medical School reserved 16 of 100 spaces for minority students.

When Allan Bakke, a white Vietnam vet, was rejected despite his superior scholastic record, he challenged the California program.

The difficult case split the Court. How far can America go to make up for past discrimination…without creating new injustices in the process?

The outcome: quotas are not constitutional. But other “affirmative actions” to promote diversity are.

Bakke wins. The quota program will end. But will the debate?

Read about it in the New York times

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