Tom Fody: The Supreme Court waited almost until the very end of its term to deal with the hottest potato on its 1978 calendar, the Allan Bakke so-called reverse-discrimination case. At issue was the right of a State university medical school to set aside a certain number of places, in this case 16 out of 100 in its freshmen class, for members of minority groups considered to be the victims of earlier discrimination. Allan Bakke, a white engineer, contended that admission system kept him out of the University of California Medical School, while less-qualified members of minority groups were accepted. A State court agreed, and so did five Justices of the Supreme Court, up to a point. That point was an order for the admission of Bakke to the Davis Medical School and the invalidation of the Schoolâ€™s special admissions program.
But at the same time, a different combination of five Justices also held that schools can use race as one factor in admissions programs, thus upholding the legality of many other so-called affirmative-action employment and school admissions plans.
This is Tom Fody.