From Bakke to Grutter: The Supreme Court and the Struggle over Affirmative Action in the Era of Globalization

Kamalu, Johnson A.; Kamalu, Ngozi C.
December 2004
Western Journal of Black Studies;Winter2004, Vol. 28 Issue 4, p489
Academic Journal
This paper explores the progress and evolution of the legal fight over affirmative action. Relying on primary and secondary sources, the study examines selected landmark cases over the yeast, from the Bakke case of 1978 to the recent Grutter case of the 2003. The study, concludes that the central theme in the courts' position is that any program to achieve racial or ethnic diversity must be flexible, with race considered as a plus factor. However, such program must be conducted in a holistic fashion so as to create the opportunity in which applicants are compared against others, as to guard against arbitrary use of numerical quota, which is unconstitutional Nevertheless, a racial quota may be tolerated only if such program is" narrowly" tailored in order not to adversely affect the rights of others and to correct long history of racial discrimination, where the need to correct the effects of past discrimination far outweigh the effects or burdens such remedy might impose on innocent parties. While the courts have consistently frowned at the use of "quota" to achieve ethnic or racial balance in employment, government contracting or in admission into educational institutions, they have recognized "diversity" as a compelling national interest worth pursuing, as long as it is "narrowly" tailored to achieve racial and ethnic diversity, especially in this age of globalization.


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