Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
438 U.S. 265 (1978)


YES. . . . . FOR VIEWPOINT DIVERSITY! Justice POWELL: To be constitutional, racial discrimination by the State must be narrowly tailored to further a compelling public purpose. If a university's purpose is to assure a specific percentage of students from a particular racial or ethnic group, the purpose is invalid on its face. Nor is providing more minority doctors or counteracting societal discrimination a compelling purpose. However, the enhancement of viewpoint diversity is compelling, and justifies racial or ethnic preference for individual applicants who might contribute to that end.

YES. . . . .TO REMEDY DISCRIMINATION! Justices BRENNAN, WHITE, MARSHALL and BLACKMUN: To be constitutional, racial discrimination must be a reasonable means of furthering an important public purpose. The Medical School's purpose of remedying the effects of past societal discrimination is sufficiently important to justify the use of race-conscious admissions programs where there is a sound basis for concluding that minority underrepresentation is substantial and chronic, and that the handicap of past discrimination is impeding access of minorities to professional education. The program does not use race to stigmatize anyone, minority or nonminority.

Justice Powell

[Page 305]
have held that in "order to justify the use of a suspect classification, a State must show that its purpose or interest is both constitutionally permissible and substantial, and that its use of the classification is 'necessary . . . to the accomplishment' of its purpose or the safeguarding of its interest." In re Griffiths, 413 U.S. 717, 721-722 (1973) (footnotes omitted); Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S., at 11; McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U.S. 184, 196 (1964). The special admissions program purports to serve the purposes [306] of: (i) "reducing the historic deficit of traditionally disfavored minorities in medical schools and in the medical profession," Brief for Petitioner 32; (ii) countering the effects of societal discrimination; 43 (iii) increasing the number of physicians who will practice in communities currently underserved; and (iv) obtaining the educational benefits that flow from an ethnically diverse student body. It is necessary to decide which, if any, of these purposes is substantial enough to support the use of a suspect classification. [307]


If petitioner's purpose is to assure within its student body some specified percentage of a particular group merely because of its race or ethnic origin, such a preferential purpose must be rejected not as insubstantial but as facially invalid. 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. E. g., Loving v. Virginia, supra, at 11; McLaughlin v. Florida, supra, at 196; Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).


The State certainly has a legitimate and substantial interest in ameliorating, or eliminating where feasible, the disabling effects of identified discrimination. The line of school desegregation cases, commencing with Brown, attests to the importance of this state goal and the commitment of the judiciary to affirm all lawful means toward its attainment. In the school cases, the States were required by court order to redress the wrongs worked by specific instances of racial discrimination. That goal was far more focused than the remedying of the effects of "societal discrimination," an amorphous concept of injury that may be ageless in its reach into the past. We have never approved a classification that aids persons perceived as members of relatively victimized groups at the expense of other innocent individuals in the absence of judicial, legislative, or administrative findings of constitutional or statutory violations. See, e. g., Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324, 367-376 (1977); United Jewish Organizations, 430 U.S., at 155-156; South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 308 (1966). After such findings have been made, the governmental interest in preferring members of the injured groups at the expense of others is substantial, since the legal rights of the victims must be vindicated. In such a case, the [308] extent of the injury and the consequent remedy will have been judicially, legislatively, or administratively defined. Also, the remedial action usually remains subject to continuing oversight to assure that it will work the least harm possible to other innocent persons competing for the benefit. Without such findings of constitutional or statutory violations, 44 it cannot be [309] said that the government has any greater interest in helping one individual than in refraining from harming another. Thus, the government has no compelling justification for inflicting such harm.

Petitioner does not purport to have made, and is in no position to make, such findings. Its broad mission is education, not the formulation of any legislative policy or the adjudication of particular claims of illegality. For reasons similar to those stated in Part III of this opinion, isolated segments of our vast governmental structures are not competent to make those decisions, at least in the absence of legislative mandates and legislatively determined criteria. 45 Cf. Hampton v. Mow Sun Wong, 426 U.S. 88 (1976); n. 41, supra. Before relying upon these sorts of findings in establishing a racial classification, a governmental body must have the authority and capability to establish, in the record, that the classification is responsive to identified discrimination. See, e. g., Califano v. Webster, 430 U.S., at 316-321; Califano [310] v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S., at 212-217. Lacking this capability, petitioner has not carried its burden of justification on this issue. Hence, the purpose of helping certain groups whom the faculty of the Davis Medical School perceived as victims of "societal discrimination" does not justify a classification that imposes disadvantages upon persons like respondent, who bear no responsibility for whatever harm the beneficiaries of the special admissions program are thought to have suffered. To hold otherwise would be to convert a remedy heretofore reserved for violations of legal rights into a privilege that all institutions throughout the Nation could grant at their pleasure to whatever groups are perceived as victims of societal discrimination. That is a step we have never approved. Cf. Pasadena City Board of Education v. Spangler, 427 U.S. 424 (1976).


Petitioner identifies, as another purpose of its program, improving the delivery of health-care services to communities currently underserved. It may be assumed that in some situations a State's interest in facilitating the health care of its citizens is sufficiently compelling to support the use of a suspect classification. But there is virtually no evidence in the record indicating that petitioner's special admissions program is either needed or geared to promote that goal. 46 The court below addressed this failure of proof:

"The University concedes it cannot assure that minority doctors who entered under the program, all of whom expressed an 'interest' in practicing in a disadvantaged community, will actually do so. It may be correct to assume that some of them will carry out this intention, and that it is more likely they will practice in minority [311] communities than the average white doctor. (See Sandalow, Racial Preferences in Higher Education: Political Responsibility and the Judicial Role (1975) 42 U. Chi. L. Rev. 653, 688.) Nevertheless, there are more precise and reliable ways to identify applicants who are genuinely interested in the medical problems of minorities than by race. An applicant of whatever race who has demonstrated his concern for disadvantaged minorities in the past and who declares that practice in such a community is his primary professional goal would be more likely to contribute to alleviation of the medical shortage than one who is chosen entirely on the basis of race and disadvantage. In short, there is no empirical data to demonstrate that any one race is more selflessly socially oriented or by contrast that another is more selfishly acquisitive." 18 Cal. 3d, at 56, 553 P. 2d, at 1167.

Petitioner simply has not carried its burden of demonstrating that it must prefer members of particular ethnic groups over all other individuals in order to promote better health-care delivery to deprived citizens. Indeed, petitioner has not shown that its preferential classification is likely to have any significant effect on the problem. 47


The fourth goal asserted by petitioner is the attainment of a diverse student body. This clearly is a constitutionally [312] permissible goal for an institution of higher education. Academic freedom, though not a specifically enumerated constitutional right, long has been viewed as a special concern of the First Amendment. The freedom of a university to make its own judgments as to education includes the selection of its student body. Mr. Justice Frankfurter summarized the "four essential freedoms" that constitute academic freedom:

"'It is the business of a university to provide that atmosphere which is most conducive to speculation, experiment and creation. It is an atmosphere in which there prevail "the four essential freedoms" of a university -- to determine for itself on academic grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who may be admitted to study.'" Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 263 (1957) (concurring in result).

Our national commitment to the safeguarding of these freedoms within university communities was emphasized in Keyishian v. Board of Regents, 385 U.S. 589, 603 (1967):

"Our Nation is deeply committed to safeguarding academic freedom which is of transcendent value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned. That freedom is therefore a special concern of the First Amendment . . . . The Nation's future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure to that robust exchange of ideas which discovers truth 'out of a multitude of tongues, [rather] than through any kind of authoritative selection.' United States v. Associated Press, 52 F.Supp. 362, 372."

The atmosphere of "speculation, experiment and creation" -- so essential to the quality of higher education -- is widely believed to be promoted by a diverse student body. 48 As the Court [313] noted in Keyishian, it is not too much to say that the "nation's future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure" to the ideas and mores of students as diverse as this Nation of many peoples.

Thus, in arguing that its universities must be accorded the right to select those students who will contribute the most to the "robust exchange of ideas," petitioner invokes a countervailing constitutional interest, that of the First Amendment. In this light, petitioner must be viewed as seeking to achieve a goal that is of paramount importance in the fulfillment of its mission. It may be argued that there is greater force to these views at the undergraduate level than in a medical school where the training is centered primarily on professional competency. But even at the graduate level, our tradition and experience lend support to the view that the contribution of diversity is substantial. In Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S., at 634, the [314] Court made a similar point with specific reference to legal education:

"The law school, the proving ground for legal learning and practice, cannot be effective in isolation from the individuals and institutions with which the law interacts. Few students and no one who has practiced law would choose to study in an academic vacuum, removed from the interplay of ideas and the exchange of views with which the law is concerned."

Physicians serve a heterogeneous population. An otherwise qualified medical student with a particular background -- whether it be ethnic, geographic, culturally advantaged or disadvantaged -- may bring to a professional school of medicine experiences, outlooks, and ideas that enrich the training of its student body and better equip its graduates to render with understanding their vital service to humanity. 49

Ethnic diversity, however, is only one element in a range of factors a university properly may consider in attaining the goal of a heterogeneous student body. Although a university must have wide discretion in making the sensitive judgments as to who should be admitted, constitutional limitations protecting individual rights may not be disregarded. Respondent urges -- and the courts below have held -- that petitioner's dual admissions program is a racial classification that impermissibly infringes his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. As the interest of diversity is compelling in the context of a university's admissions program, the question remains whether the [315] program's racial classification is necessary to promote this interest. In re Griffiths, 413 U.S., at 721-722.



It may be assumed that the reservation of a specified number of seats in each class for individuals from the preferred ethnic groups would contribute to the attainment of considerable ethnic diversity in the student body. But petitioner's argument that this is the only effective means of serving the interest of diversity is seriously flawed. In a most fundamental sense the argument misconceives the nature of the state interest that would justify consideration of race or ethnic background. It is not an interest in simple ethnic diversity, in which a specified percentage of the student body is in effect guaranteed to be members of selected ethnic groups, with the remaining percentage an undifferentiated aggregation of students. The diversity that furthers a compelling state interest encompasses a far broader array of qualifications and characteristics of which racial or ethnic origin is but a single though important element. Petitioner's special admissions program, focused solely on ethnic diversity, would hinder rather than further attainment of genuine diversity. 50

Nor would the state interest in genuine diversity be served by expanding petitioner's two-track system into a multitrack program with a prescribed number of seats set aside for each identifiable category of applicants. Indeed, it is inconceivable that a university would thus pursue the logic of petitioner's two-track program to the illogical end of insulating each category of applicants with certain desired qualifications from competition with all other applicants.

[316] The experience of other university admissions programs, which take race into account in achieving the educational diversity valued by the First Amendment, demonstrates that the assignment of a fixed number of places to a minority group is not a necessary means toward that end. An illuminating example is found in the Harvard College program:

"In recent years Harvard College has expanded the concept of diversity to include students from disadvantaged economic, racial and ethnic groups. Harvard College now recruits not only Californians or Louisianans but also blacks and Chicanos and other minority students. . . .

"In practice, this new definition of diversity has meant that race has been a factor in some admission decisions. When the Committee on Admissions reviews the large middle group of applicants who are 'admissible' and deemed capable of doing good work in their courses, the race of an applicant may tip the balance in his favor just as geographic origin or a life spent on a farm may tip the balance in other candidates' cases. A farm boy from Idaho can bring something to Harvard College that a Bostonian cannot offer. Similarly, a black student can usually bring something that a white person cannot offer. . .

"In Harvard College admissions the Committee has not set target-quotas for the number of blacks, or of musicians, football players, physicists or Californians to be admitted in a given year. . . . But that awareness [of the necessity of including more than a token number of black students] does not mean that the Committee sets a minimum number of blacks or of people from west of the Mississippi who are to be admitted. It means only that in choosing among thousands of applicants who are not only 'admissible' academically but have other strong qualities, the Committee, with a number of criteria in mind, pays some attention to distribution among many [317] types and categories of students." App. to Brief for Columbia University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania, as Amici Curiae 2-3.

In such an admissions program, 51 race or ethnic background may be deemed a "plus" in a particular applicant's file, yet it does not insulate the individual from comparison with all other candidates for the available seats. The file of a particular black applicant may be examined for his potential contribution to diversity without the factor of race being decisive when compared, for example, with that of an applicant identified as an Italian-American if the latter is thought to exhibit qualities more likely to promote beneficial educational pluralism. Such qualities could include exceptional personal talents, unique work or service experience, leadership potential, maturity, demonstrated compassion, a history of overcoming disadvantage, ability to communicate with the poor, or other qualifications deemed important. In short, an admissions program operated in this way is flexible enough to consider all pertinent elements of diversity in light of the particular qualifications of each applicant, and to place them on the same footing for consideration, although not necessarily according them the same weight. Indeed, the weight attributed to a [318] particular quality may vary from year to year depending upon the "mix" both of the student body and the applicants for the incoming class.

This kind of program treats each applicant as an individual in the admissions process. The applicant who loses out on the last available seat to another candidate receiving a "plus" on the basis of ethnic background will not have been foreclosed from all consideration for that seat simply because he was not the right color or had the wrong surname. It would mean only that his combined qualifications, which may have included similar nonobjective factors, did not outweigh those of the other applicant. His qualifications would have been weighed fairly and competitively, and he would have no basis to complain of unequal treatment under the Fourteenth Amendment. 52

It has been suggested that an admissions program which considers race only as one factor is simply a subtle and more sophisticated -- but no less effective -- means of according racial preference than the Davis program. A facial intent to discriminate, however, is evident in petitioner's preference program and not denied in this case. No such facial infirmity exists in an admissions program where race or ethnic background is simply one element -- to be weighed fairly against other elements -- in the selection process. "A boundary line," as Mr. Justice Frankfurter remarked in another connection, "is none the worse for being narrow." McLeod v. Dilworth, 322 U.S. 327, 329 (1944). And a court would not assume that a university, professing to employ a facially nondiscriminatory admissions policy, would operate it as a cover for the functional equivalent of a quota system. In short, good faith [319] would be presumed in the absence of a showing to the contrary in the manner permitted by our cases. See, e. g., Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252 (1977); Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229 (1976); Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202 (1965). 53


In summary, it is evident that the Davis special admissions program involves the use of an explicit racial classification never before countenanced by this Court. It tells applicants who are not Negro, Asian, or Chicano that they are totally excluded from a specific percentage of the seats in an entering class. No matter how strong their qualifications, quantitative and extracurricular, including their own potential for contribution to educational diversity, they are never afforded the chance to compete with applicants from the preferred groups for the special admissions seats. At the same time, the preferred [320] applicants have the opportunity to compete for every seat in the class.

The fatal flaw in petitioner's preferential program is its disregard of individual rights as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S., at 22. Such rights are not absolute. But when a State's distribution of benefits or imposition of burdens hinges on ancestry or the color of a person's skin, that individual is entitled to a demonstration that the challenged classification is necessary to promote a substantial state interest. Petitioner has failed to carry this burden. For this reason, that portion of the California court's judgment holding petitioner's special admissions program invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment must be affirmed.


In enjoining petitioner from ever considering the race of any applicant, however, the courts below failed to recognize that the State has a substantial interest that legitimately may be served by a properly devised admissions program involving the competitive consideration of race and ethnic origin. For this reason, so much of the California court's judgment as enjoins petitioner from any consideration of the race of any applicant must be reversed.

Justice Brennan


[Page 362]
Davis' articulated purpose of remedying the effects of past societal discrimination is, under our cases, sufficiently important to justify the use of race-conscious admissions programs where there is a sound basis for concluding that minority underrepresentation is substantial and chronic, and that the handicap of past discrimination is impeding access of minorities to the Medical School.


At least since Green v. County School Board, 391 U.S. 430 (1968), it has been clear that a public body which has itself been adjudged to have engaged in racial discrimination cannot bring itself into compliance with the Equal Protection Clause simply by ending its unlawful acts and adopting a neutral stance. Three years later, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1 (1971), and its companion cases, Davis v. School Comm'rs of Mobile County, 402 U.S. 33 (1971); McDaniel v. Barresi, 402 U.S. 39 (1971); and North Carolina Board of Education v. Swann, 402 U.S. 43 (1971), reiterated that racially neutral remedies for past discrimination were inadequate where consequences of past discriminatory acts influence or control present decisions. See, e. g., Charlotte-Mecklenburg, supra, at 28. And the Court further held both that courts could enter desegregation orders which assigned students and faculty by reference to race, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, supra; Davis, supra; United States v. Montgomery County Board of Ed., 395 U.S. 225 (1969), and that local school boards could voluntarily adopt desegregation [363] plans which made express reference to race if this was necessary to remedy the effects of past discrimination. McDaniel v. Barresi, supra. Moreover, we stated that school boards, even in the absence of a judicial finding of past discrimination, could voluntarily adopt plans which assigned students with the end of creating racial pluralism by establishing fixed ratios of black and white students in each school. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, supra, at 16. In each instance, the creation of unitary school systems, in which the effects of past discrimination had been "eliminated root and branch," Green, supra, at 438, was recognized as a compelling social goal justifying the overt use of race.

Finally, the conclusion that state educational institutions may constitutionally adopt admissions programs designed to avoid exclusion of historically disadvantaged minorities, even when such programs explicitly take race into account, finds direct support in our cases construing congressional legislation designed to overcome the present effects of past discrimination. Congress can and has outlawed actions which have a disproportionately adverse and unjustified impact upon members of racial minorities and has required or authorized race-conscious action to put individuals disadvantaged by such impact in the position they otherwise might have enjoyed. See Franks v. Bowman Transportation Co., 424 U.S. 747 (1976); Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324 (1977). Such relief does not require as a predicate proof that recipients of preferential advancement have been individually discriminated against; it is enough that each recipient is within a general class of persons likely to have been the victims of discrimination. See id., at 357-362. Nor is it an objection to such relief that preference for minorities will upset the settled expectations of nonminorities. See Franks, supra. In addition, we have held that Congress, to remove barriers to equal opportunity, can and has required employers to use test criteria that fairly reflect the qualifications of minority applicants [364] vis-a-vis nonminority applicants, even if this means interpreting the qualifications of an applicant in light of his race. See Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 435 (1975). 37

These cases cannot be distinguished simply by the presence of judicial findings of discrimination, for race-conscious remedies have been approved where such findings have not been made. McDaniel v. Barresi, supra; UJO; see Califano v. Webster, 430 U.S. 313 (1977); Schlesinger v. Ballard, 419 U.S. 498 (1975); Kahn v. Shevin, 416 U.S. 351 (1974). See also Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641 (1966). Indeed, the requirement of a judicial determination of a constitutional or statutory violation as a predicate for race-conscious remedial actions would be self-defeating. Such a requirement would severely undermine efforts to achieve voluntary compliance with the requirements of law. And our society and jurisprudence have always stressed the value of voluntary efforts to further the objectives of the law. Judicial intervention is a last resort to achieve cessation of illegal conduct or the remedying of its effects rather than a prerequisite to action. 38

[365] Nor can our cases be distinguished on the ground that the entity using explicit racial classifications itself had violated 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment or an antidiscrimination regulation, for again race-conscious remedies have been approved where this is not the case. See UJO, 430 U.S., at 157 (opinion of WHITE, J., joined by BRENNAN, BLACKMUN, and STEVENS, JJ.); 39 id., at 167 (opinion of WHITE, J., joined by REHNQUIST and STEVENS, JJ.); 40 cf. Califano v. Webster, supra, at 317; Kahn v. Shevin, supra. Moreover, the presence or absence of past discrimination by universities or employers is largely irrelevant to resolving respondent's constitutional claims. The claims of those burdened by the race-conscious actions of a university or employer who has never been adjudged in violation of an antidiscrimination law are not any more or less entitled to deference than the claims of the burdened nonminority workers in Franks v. Bowman Transportation Co., supra, in which the employer had violated Title VII, for in each case the employees are innocent of past discrimination.And, although it might be argued that, where an employer has violated an antidiscrimination law, the expectations of nonminority workers are themselves products of discrimination and hence "tainted," see Franks, supra, at 776, and therefore more easily upset, the same argument can be made with respect to respondent. If it was reasonable to conclude -- as we hold that it was -- that the failure of minorities to qualify for admission at Davis under regular procedures was due principally to the effects of past discrimination, then there is a reasonable likelihood that, but for pervasive racial discrimination, [366] respondent would have failed to qualify for admission even in the absence of Davis' special admissions program. 41

Thus, our cases under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act have held that, in order to achieve minority participation in previously segregated areas of public life, Congress may require or authorize preferential treatment for those likely disadvantaged by societal racial discrimination. Such legislation has been sustained even without a requirement of findings of intentional racial discrimination by those required or authorized to accord preferential treatment, or a case-by-case determination that those to be benefited suffered from racial discrimination. These decisions compel the conclusion that States also may adopt race-conscious programs designed to overcome substantial, chronic minority underrepresentation where there is reason to believe that the evil addressed is a product of past racial discrimination. 42

[367] Title VII was enacted pursuant to Congress' power under the Commerce Clause and 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. To the extent that Congress acted under the Commerce Clause power, it was restricted in the use of race in governmental decisionmaking by the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment precisely to the same extent as are the States by 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment. 43 Therefore, to the extent that Title VII rests on the Commerce Clause power, our decisions such as Franks and [368] Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324 (1977), implicitly recognize that the affirmative use of race is consistent with the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment and therefore with the Fourteenth Amendment. To the extent that Congress acted pursuant to 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, those cases impliedly recognize that Congress was empowered under that provision to accord preferential treatment to victims of past discrimination in order to overcome the effects of segregation, and we see no reason to conclude that the States cannot voluntarily accomplish under 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment what Congress under 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment validly may authorize or compel either the States or private persons to do. A contrary position would conflict with the traditional understanding recognizing the competence of the States to initiate measures consistent with federal policy in the absence of congressional pre-emption of the subject matter. Nothing whatever in the legislative history of either the Fourteenth Amendment or the Civil Rights Acts even remotely suggests that the States are foreclosed from furthering the fundamental purpose of equal opportunity to which the Amendment and those Acts are addressed. Indeed, voluntary initiatives by the States to achieve the national goal of equal opportunity have been recognized to be essential to its attainment. "To use the Fourteenth Amendment as a sword against such State power would stultify that Amendment." Railway Mail Assn. v. Corsi, 326 U.S. 88, 98 (1945) (Frankfurter, J., concurring). 44 We therefore [369] conclude that Davis' goal of admitting minority students disadvantaged by the effects of past discrimination is sufficiently important to justify use of race-conscious admissions criteria.


Properly construed, therefore, our prior cases unequivocally show that a state government may adopt race-conscious programs if the purpose of such programs is to remove the disparate racial impact its actions might otherwise have and if there is reason to believe that the disparate impact is itself the product of past discrimination, whether its own or that of society at large. There is no question that Davis' program is valid under this test.

Certainly, on the basis of the undisputed factual submissions before this Court, Davis had a sound basis for believing that the problem of underrepresentation of minorities was substantial and chronic and that the problem was attributable to handicaps imposed on minority applicants by past and present racial discrimination. Until at least 1973, the practice of medicine in this country was, in fact, if not in law, largely the prerogative of whites. 45 In 1950, for example, while Negroes [370] constituted 10% of the total population, Negro physicians constituted only 2.2% of the total number of physicians. 46 The overwhelming majority of these, moreover, were educated in two predominantly Negro medical schools, Howard and Meharry. 47 By 1970, the gap between the proportion of Negroes in medicine and their proportion in the population had widened: The number of Negroes employed in medicine remained frozen at 2.2% 48 while the Negro population had increased to 11.1%. 49 The number of Negro admittees to predominantly white medical schools, moreover, had declined in absolute numbers during the years 1955 to 1964. Odegaard 19.

Moreover, Davis had very good reason to believe that the national pattern of underrepresentation of minorities in medicine would be perpetuated if it retained a single admissions standard. For example, the entering classes in 1968 and 1969, the years in which such a standard was used, included only 1 Chicano and 2 Negroes out of the 50 admittees for each year. Nor is there any relief from this pattern of underrepresentation in the statistics for the regular admissions program in later years. 50

Davis clearly could conclude that the serious and persistent underrepresentation of minorities in medicine depicted by these statistics is the result of handicaps under which minority applicants labor as a consequence of a background of deliberate, purposeful discrimination against minorities in education [371] and in society generally, as well as in the medical profession. From the inception of our national life, Negroes have been subjected to unique legal disabilities impairing access to equal educational opportunity. Under slavery, penal sanctions were imposed upon anyone attempting to educate Negroes. 51 After enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment the States continued to deny Negroes equal educational opportunity, enforcing a strict policy of segregation that itself stamped Negroes as inferior, Brown I, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), that relegated minorities to inferior educational institutions, 52 and that denied them intercourse in the mainstream of professional life necessary to advancement. See Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950). Segregation was not limited to public facilities, moreover, but was enforced by criminal penalties against private action as well. Thus, as late as 1908, this Court enforced a state criminal conviction against a private college for teaching Negroes together with whites. Berea College v. Kentucky, 211 U.S. 45. See also Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).

Green v. County School Board, 391 U.S. 430 (1968), gave explicit recognition to the fact that the habit of discrimination and the cultural tradition of race prejudice cultivated by centuries of legal slavery and segregation were not immediately dissipated when Brown I, supra, announced the constitutional principle that equal educational opportunity and participation in all aspects of American life could not be denied on the basis of race. Rather, massive official and private resistance prevented, and to a lesser extent still prevents, attainment of equal opportunity in education at all levels and in the professions. The generation of minority students applying to Davis Medical School since it opened in 1968 -- most of whom [372] were born before or about the time Brown I was decided -- clearly have been victims of this discrimination. Judicial decrees recognizing discrimination in public education in California testify to the fact of widespread discrimination suffered by California-born minority applicants; 53 many minority group members living in California, moreover, were born and reared in school districts in Southern States segregated by law. 54 Since separation of schoolchildren by race "generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone," Brown I, supra, at 494, the conclusion is inescapable that applicants to medical school must be few indeed who endured the effects of de jure segregation, the resistance to Brown I, or the equally debilitating pervasive private discrimination fostered by our long history of official discrimination, cf. Reitman v. Mulkey, 387 U.S. 369 (1967), and yet come to the starting line with an education equal to whites. 55

Moreover, we need not rest solely on our own conclusion that Davis had sound reason to believe that the effects of past discrimination were handicapping minority applicants to the Medical School, because the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the expert agency charged by Congress with promulgating regulations enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, see supra, at 341-343, has also reached the conclusion that race may be taken into account in situations [373] where a failure to do so would limit participation by minorities in federally funded programs, and regulations promulgated by the Department expressly contemplate that appropriate race-conscious programs may be adopted by universities to remedy unequal access to university programs caused by their own or by past societal discrimination. See supra, at 344-345, discussing 45 CFR 80.3 (b)(6)(ii) and 80.5 (j) (1977). It cannot be questioned that, in the absence of the special admissions program, access of minority students to the Medical School would be severely limited and, accordingly, race-conscious admissions would be deemed an appropriate response under these federal regulations. Moreover, the Department's regulatory policy is not one that has gone unnoticed by Congress. See supra, at 346-347. Indeed, although an amendment to an appropriations bill was introduced just last year that would have prevented the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare from mandating race-conscious programs in university admissions, proponents of this measure, significantly, did not question the validity of voluntary implementation of race-conscious admissions criteria. See ibid. In these circumstances, the conclusion implicit in the regulations -- that the lingering effects of past discrimination continue to make race-conscious remedial programs appropriate means for ensuring equal educational opportunity in universities -- deserves considerable judicial deference. See, e. g., Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641 (1966); UJO, 430 U.S., at 175-178 (opinion concurring in part). 56


The second prong of our test -- whether the Davis program stigmatizes any discrete group or individual and whether race is [374] reasonably used in light of the program's objectives -- is clearly satisfied by the Davis program.

It is not even claimed that Davis' program in any way operates to stigmatize or single out any discrete and insular, or even any identifiable, nonminority group. Nor will harm comparable to that imposed upon racial minorities by exclusion or separation on grounds of race be the likely result of the program. It does not, for example, establish an exclusive preserve for minority students apart from and exclusive of whites. Rather, its purpose is to overcome the effects of segregation by bringing the races together. True, whites are excluded from participation in the special admissions program, but this fact only operates to reduce the number of whites to be admitted in the regular admissions program in order to permit admission of a reasonable percentage -- less than their proportion of the California population 57 -- of otherwise underrepresented qualified minority applicants. 58

[375] Nor was Bakke in any sense stamped as inferior by the Medical School's rejection of him. Indeed, it is conceded by all that he satisfied those criteria regarded by the school as generally relevant to academic performance better than most of the minority members who were admitted. Moreover, there is absolutely no basis for concluding that Bakke's rejection as a result of Davis' use of racial preference will affect him throughout his life in the same way as the segregation of the Negro schoolchildren in Brown I would have affected them. Unlike discrimination against racial minorities, the use of racial preferences for remedial purposes does not inflict a pervasive injury upon individual whites in the sense that wherever they go or whatever they do there is a significant likelihood that they will be treated as second-class citizens because of their color. This distinction does not mean that the exclusion of a white resulting from the preferential use of race is not sufficiently serious to require justification; but it does mean that the injury inflicted by such a policy is not distinguishable from disadvantages caused by a wide range of government actions, none of which has ever been thought impermissible for that reason alone.

In addition, there is simply no evidence that the Davis program discriminates intentionally or unintentionally against any minority group which it purports to benefit. The program does not establish a quota in the invidious sense of a ceiling on the number of minority applicants to be admitted. Nor can the program reasonably be regarded as stigmatizing the program's beneficiaries or their race as inferior. The Davis program does not simply advance less qualified applicants; rather, it compensates applicants, who it is uncontested are fully qualified to study medicine, for educational disadvantages which it was reasonable to conclude were a product of [376] state-fostered discrimination. Once admitted, these students must satisfy the same degree requirements as regularly admitted students; they are taught by the same faculty in the same classes; and their performance is evaluated by the same standards by which regularly admitted students are judged. Under these circumstances, their performance and degrees must be regarded equally with the regularly admitted students with whom they compete for standing. Since minority graduates cannot justifiably be regarded as less well qualified than nonminority graduates by virtue of the special admissions program, there is no reasonable basis to conclude that minority graduates at schools using such programs would be stigmatized as inferior by the existence of such programs.


We disagree with the lower courts' conclusion that the Davis program's use of race was unreasonable in light of its objectives. First, as petitioner argues, there are no practical means by which it could achieve its ends in the foreseeable future without the use of race-conscious measures. With respect to any factor (such as poverty or family educational background) that may be used as a substitute for race as an indicator of past discrimination, whites greatly outnumber racial minorities simply because whites make up a far larger percentage of the total population and therefore far outnumber minorities in absolute terms at every socioeconomic level. 59 For example, of a class of recent medical school applicants from families with less than $10,000 income, at least 71% were white. 60 Of all 1970 families headed by a [377] person not a high school graduate which included related children under 18, 80% were white and 20% were racial minorities. 61 Moreover, while race is positively correlated with differences in GPA and MCAT scores, economic disadvantage is not. Thus, it appears that economically disadvantaged whites do not score less well than economically advantaged whites, while economically advantaged blacks score less well than do disadvantaged whites. 62 These statistics graphically illustrate that the University's purpose to integrate its classes by compensating for past discrimination could not be achieved by a general preference for the economically disadvantaged or the children of parents of limited education unless such groups were to make up the entire class.

Second, the Davis admissions program does not simply equate minority status with disadvantage. Rather, Davis considers on an individual basis each applicant's personal history to determine whether he or she has likely been disadvantaged by racial discrimination. The record makes clear that only minority applicants likely to have been isolated from the mainstream of American life are considered in the special program; other minority applicants are eligible only through the regular admissions program. True, the procedure by which disadvantage is detected is informal, but we have never insisted that educators conduct their affairs through adjudicatory proceedings, and such insistence here is misplaced. A case-by-case inquiry into the extent to which each individual applicant has been affected, either directly or indirectly, by racial discrimination, would seem to be, as a practical matter, virtually impossible, despite the fact that there are excellent reasons for concluding that such effects generally exist. When individual measurement is impossible or extremely impractical, there is nothing to prevent a State from using categorical means to achieve its ends, at least where the category is closely related to the goal. Cf. Gaston County v. United States, 395 U.S. 285, 295-296 (1969); Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641 (1966). And it is clear from our cases that specific proof that a person has been victimized by discrimination is not a necessary predicate to offering him relief where the probability of victimization is great. See Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324 (1977).


Finally, Davis' special admissions program cannot be said to violate the Constitution simply because it has set aside a predetermined number of places for qualified minority applicants rather than using minority status as a positive factor to be considered in evaluating the applications of disadvantaged minority applicants. For purposes of constitutional adjudication, there is no difference between the two approaches. In any admissions program which accords special consideration to disadvantaged racial minorities, a determination of the degree of preference to be given is unavoidable, and any given preference that results in the exclusion of a white candidate is no more or less constitutionally acceptable than a program such as that at Davis. Furthermore, the extent of the preference inevitably depends on how many minority applicants the particular school is seeking to admit in any particular year so long as the number of qualified minority applicants exceeds that number. There is no sensible, and certainly no constitutional, distinction between, for example, adding a set number of points to the admissions rating of disadvantaged minority applicants as an expression of the preference with the expectation that this will result in the admission of an approximately determined number of qualified minority applicants and setting a fixed number of places for such applicants as was done here. 63

[379] The "Harvard" program, see ante, at 316-318, as those employing it readily concede, openly and successfully employs a racial criterion for the purpose of ensuring that some of the scarce places in institutions of higher education are allocated to disadvantaged minority students. That the Harvard approach does not also make public the extent of the preference and the precise workings of the system while the Davis program employs a specific, openly stated number, does not condemn the latter plan for purposes of Fourteenth Amendment adjudication. It may be that the Harvard plan is more acceptable to the public than is the Davis "quota." If it is, any State, including California, is free to adopt it in preference to a less acceptable alternative, just as it is generally free, as far as the Constitution is concerned, to abjure granting any racial preferences in its admissions program. But there is no basis for preferring a particular preference program simply because in achieving the same goals that the Davis Medical School is pursuing, it proceeds in a manner that is not immediately apparent to the public.


Accordingly, we would reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of California holding the Medical School's special admissions program unconstitutional and directing respondent's admission, as well as that portion of the judgment enjoining the Medical School from according any consideration to race in the admissions process.

- o o o -

Justice Powell Footnotes:

43. [Powell] A number of distinct subgoals have been advanced as falling under the rubric of "compensation for past discrimination." For example, it is said that preferences for Negro applicants may compensate for harm done them personally, or serve to place them at economic levels they might have attained but for discrimination against their forebears. Greenawalt, supra n. 25, at 581-586. Another view of the "compensation" goal is that it serves as a form of reparation by the "majority" to a victimized group as a whole. B. Bittker, The Case for Black Reparations (1973). That justification for racial or ethnic preference has been subjected to much criticism. E. g., Greenawalt, supra n. 25, at 581; Posner, supra n. 25, at 16-17, and n. 33. Finally, it has been argued that ethnic preferences "compensate" the group by providing examples of success whom other members of the group will emulate, thereby advancing the group's interest and society's interest in encouraging new generations to overcome the barriers and frustrations of the past. Redish, supra n. 25, at 391. For purposes of analysis these subgoals need not be considered separately.

Racial classifications in admissions conceivably could serve a fifth purpose, one which petitioner does not articulate: fair appraisal of each individual's academic promise in the light of some cultural bias in grading or testing procedures. To the extent that race and ethnic background were considered only to the extent of curing established inaccuracies in predicting academic performance, it might be argued that there is no "preference" at all. Nothing in this record, however, suggests either that any of the quantitative factors considered by the Medical School were culturally biased or that petitioner's special admissions program was formulated to correct for any such biases. Furthermore, if race or ethnic background were used solely to arrive at an unbiased prediction of academic success, the reservation of fixed numbers of seats would be inexplicable. [return to text]

44. [Powell] Mr. Justice BRENNAN, Mr. Justice WHITE, Mr. Justice MARSHALL, and Mr. Justice BLACKMUN misconceive the scope of this Court's holdings under Title VII when they suggest that "disparate impact" alone is sufficient to establish a violation of that statute and, by analogy, other civil rights measures. See post, at 363-366, and n. 42. That this was not the meaning of Title VII was made quite clear in the seminal decision in this area, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971):

"Discriminatory preference for any group, minority or majority, is precisely and only what Congress has proscribed. What is required by Congress is the removal of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment when the barriers operate invidiously to discriminate on the basis of racial or other impermissible classification." Id., at 431 (emphasis added). Thus, disparate impact is a basis for relief under Title VII only if the practice in question is not founded on "business necessity," ibid., or lacks "a manifest relationship to the employment in question," id., at 432. See also McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-803, 805-806 (1973).

Nothing in this record -- as opposed to some of the general literature cited by Mr. Justice BRENNAN, Mr. Justice WHITE, Mr. Justice MARSHALL, and Mr. Justice BLACKMUN -- even remotely suggests that the disparate impact of the general admissions program at Davis Medical School, resulting primarily from the sort of disparate test scores and grades set forth in n. 7, supra, is without educational justification.

Moreover, the presumption in Griggs -- that disparate impact without any showing of business justification established the existence of discrimination in violation of the statute -- was based on legislative determinations, wholly absent here, that past discrimination had handicapped various minority groups to such an extent that disparate impact could be traced to identifiable instances of past discrimination:

"[Congress sought] to achieve equality of employment opportunities and remove barriers that have operated in the past to favor an identifiable group of white employees over other employees. Under the Act, practices, procedures, or tests neutral on their face, and even neutral in terms of intent, cannot be maintained if they operate to 'freeze' the status quo of prior discriminatory employment practices." Griggs, supra, at 429-430.

See, e. g., H. R. Rep. No. 914, 88th Cong., 1st Sess., pt. 2, p. 26 (1963) ("Testimony supporting the fact of discrimination in employment is overwhelming"). See generally Vaas, Title VII: The Legislative History, 7 B. C. Ind. & Com. L. Rev. 431 (1966). The Court emphasized that "the Act does not command that any person be hired simply because he was formerly the subject of discrimination, or because he is a member of a minority group." 401 U.S., at 430-431. Indeed, 703 (j) of the Act makes it clear that preferential treatment for an individual or minority group to correct an existing "imbalance" may not be required under Title VII. 42 U. S. C. 2000e-2 (j). Thus, Title VII principles support the proposition that findings of identified discrimination must precede the fashioning of remedial measures embodying racial classifications. [return to text]

45. [Powell]For example, the University is unable to explain its selection of only the four favored groups -- Negroes, Mexican-Americans, American Indians, and Asians -- for preferential treatment. The inclusion of the last group is especially curious in light of the substantial numbers of Asians admitted through the regular admissions process. See also n. 37, supra. [return to text]

46. [Powell]The only evidence in the record with respect to such underservice is a newspaper article. Record 473. [return to text]

47. [Powell] It is not clear that petitioner's two-track system, even if adopted throughout the country, would substantially increase representation of blacks in the medical profession. That is the finding of a recent study by Sleeth & Mishell, Black Under-Representation in United States Medical Schools, 297 New England J. of Med. 1146 (1977). Those authors maintain that the cause of black underrepresentation lies in the small size of the national pool of qualified black applicants. In their view, this problem is traceable to the poor premedical experiences of black undergraduates, and can be remedied effectively only by developing remedial programs for black students before they enter college. [return to text]

48. [Powell]The president of Princeton University has described some of the benefits derived from a diverse student body:

"[A] great deal of learning occurs informally. It occurs through interactions among students of both sexes; of different races, religions, and backgrounds; who come from cities and rural areas, from various states and countries; who have a wide variety of interests, talents, and perspectives; and who are able, directly or indirectly, to learn from their differences and to stimulate one another to reexamine even their most deeply held assumptions about themselves and their world. As a wise graduate of ours observed in commenting on this aspect of the educational process, 'People do not learn very much when they are surrounded only by the likes of themselves.' . . . .

"In the nature of things, it is hard to know how, and when, and even if, this informal 'learning through diversity' actually occurs. It does not occur for everyone. For many, however, the unplanned, casual encounters with roommates, fellow sufferers in an organic chemistry class, student workers in the library, teammates on a basketball squad, or other participants in class affairs or student government can be subtle and yet powerful sources of improved understanding and personal growth." Bowen, Admissions and the Relevance of Race, Princeton Alumni Weekly 7, 9 (Sept. 26, 1977). [return to text]

49. [Powell]Graduate admissions decisions, like those at the undergraduate level, are concerned with "assessing the potential contributions to the society of each individual candidate following his or her graduation -- contributions defined in the broadest way to include the doctor and the poet, the most active participant in business or government affairs and the keenest critic of all things organized, the solitary scholar and the concerned parent." Id., at 10. [return to text]

50. [Powell]See Manning, The Pursuit of Fairness in Admissions to Higher Education, in Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education, Selective Admissions in Higher Education 19, 57-59 (1977). [return to text]

51. [Powell]The admissions program at Princeton has been described in similar terms: "While race is not in and of itself a consideration in determining basic qualifications, and while there are obviously significant differences in background and experience among applicants of every race, in some situations race can be helpful information in enabling the admission officer to understand more fully what a particular candidate has accomplished -- and against what odds. Similarly, such factors as family circumstances and previous educational opportunities may be relevant, either in conjunction with race or ethnic background (with which they may be associated) or on their own." Bowen, supra n. 48, at 8-9.

For an illuminating discussion of such flexible admissions systems, see Manning, supra n. 50, at 57-59. [return to text]

52. [Powell]The denial to respondent of this right to individualized consideration without regard to his race is the principal evil of petitioner's special admissions program. Nowhere in the opinion of Mr. Justice BRENNAN, Mr. Justice WHITE, Mr. Justice MARSHALL, and Mr. Justice BLACKMUN is this denial even addressed. [return to text]

53. [Powell]Universities, like the prosecutor in Swain, may make individualized decisions, in which ethnic background plays a part, under a presumption of legality and legitimate educational purpose. So long as the university proceeds on an individualized, case-by-case basis, there is no warrant for judicial interference in the academic process. If an applicant can establish that the institution does not adhere to a policy of individual comparisons, or can show that a systematic exclusion of certain groups results, the presumption of legality might be overcome, creating the necessity of proving legitimate educational purpose.

There also are strong policy reasons that correspond to the constitutional distinction between petitioner's preference program and one that assures a measure of competition among all applicants. Petitioner's program will be viewed as inherently unfair by the public generally as well as by applicants for admission to state universities. Fairness in individual competition for opportunities, especially those provided by the State, is a widely cherished American ethic. Indeed, in a broader sense, an underlying assumption of the rule of law is the worthiness of a system of justice based on fairness to the individual. As Mr. Justice Frankfurter declared in another connection, "[justice] must satisfy the appearance of justice." Offutt v. United States, 348 U.S. 11, 14 (1954). [return to text]

Justice Brennan Footnotes:

37. [Brennan] In Albemarle, we approved "differential validation" of employment tests. See 422 U.S., at 435. That procedure requires that an employer must ensure that a test score of, for example, 50 for a minority job applicant means the same thing as a score of 50 for a nonminority applicant. By implication, were it determined that a test score of 50 for a minority corresponded in "potential for employment" to a 60 for whites, the test could not be used consistently with Title VII unless the employer hired minorities with scores of 50 even though he might not hire nonminority applicants with scores above 50 but below 60. Thus, it is clear that employers, to ensure equal opportunity, may have to adopt race-conscious hiring practices. [return to text]

38. [Brennan] Indeed, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 put great emphasis on voluntarism in remedial action. See supra, at 336-338. And, significantly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently proposed guidelines authorizing employers to adopt racial preferences as a remedial measure where they have a reasonable basis for believing that they might otherwise be held in violation of Title VII. See 42 Fed. Reg. 64826 (1977). [return to text]

39. [Brennan] "[The] [Voting Rights] Act's prohibition . . . is not dependent upon proving past unconstitutional apportionments . . . ." [return to text]

40. [Brennan] "[The] State is [not] powerless to minimize the consequences of racial discrimination by voters when it is regularly practiced at the polls." [return to text]

41. [Brennan] Our cases cannot be distinguished by suggesting, as our Brother POWELL does, that in none of them was anyone deprived of "the relevant benefit." Ante, at 304. Our school cases have deprived whites of the neighborhood school of their choice; our Title VII cases have deprived nondiscriminating employees of their settled seniority expectations; and UJO deprived the Hassidim of bloc-voting strength. Each of these injuries was constitutionally cognizable as is respondent's here. [return to text]

42. [Brennan] We do not understand Mr. Justice POWELL to disagree that providing a remedy for past racial prejudice can constitute a compelling purpose sufficient to meet strict scrutiny. See ante, at 305. Yet, because petitioner is a corporation administering a university, he would not allow it to exercise such power in the absence of "judicial, legislative, or administrative findings of constitutional or statutory violations." Ante, at 307. While we agree that reversal in this case would follow a fortiori had Davis been guilty of invidious racial discrimination or if a federal statute mandated that universities refrain from applying any admissions policy that had a disparate and unjustified racial impact, see, e. g., McDaniel v. Barresi, 402 U.S. 39 (1971); Franks v. Bowman Transportation Co., 424 U.S. 747 (1976), we do not think it of constitutional significance that Davis has not been so adjudged. Generally, the manner in which a State chooses to delegate governmental functions is for it to decide. Cf. Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 256 (1957) (Frankfurter, J., concurring in result). California, by constitutional provision, has chosen to place authority over the operation of the University of California in the Board of Regents. See Cal. Const., Art. 9, 9 (a). Control over the University is to be found not in the legislature, but rather in the Regents who have been vested with full legislative (including policymaking), administrative, and adjudicative powers by the citizens of California. See ibid.; Ishimatsu v. Regents, 266 Cal. App. 2d 854, 863-864, 72 Cal. Rptr. 756, 762-763 (1968); Goldberg v. Regents, 248 Cal. App. 2d 867, 874, 57 Cal. Rptr. 463, 468 (1967); 30 Op. Cal. Atty. Gen. 162, 166 (1957) ("The Regents, not the legislature, have the general rule-making or policy-making power in regard to the University"). This is certainly a permissible choice, see Sweezy, supra, and we, unlike our Brother POWELL, find nothing in the Equal Protection Clause that requires us to depart from established principle by limiting the scope of power the Regents may exercise more narrowly than the powers that may constitutionally be wielded by the Assembly.

Because the Regents can exercise plenary legislative and administrative power, it elevates form over substance to insist that Davis could not use race-conscious remedial programs until it had been adjudged in violation of the Constitution or an antidiscrimination statute. For, if the Equal Protection Clause required such a violation as a predicate, the Regents could simply have promulgated a regulation prohibiting disparate treatment not justified by the need to admit only qualified students, and could have declared Davis to have been in violation of such a regulation on the basis of the exclusionary effect of the admissions policy applied during the first two years of its operation. See infra, at 370. [return to text]

43. [Brennan] "Equal protection analysis in the Fifth Amendment area is the same as that under the Fourteenth Amendment." Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 93 (1976) (per curiam), citing Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636, 638 n. 2 (1975). [return to text]

44. [Brennan] Railway Mail Assn. held that a state statute forbidding racial discrimination by certain labor organizations did not abridge the Association's due process rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment because that result "would be a distortion of the policy manifested in that amendment, which was adopted to prevent state legislation designed to perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race or color." 326 U.S., at 94. That case thus established the principle that a State voluntarily could go beyond what the Fourteenth Amendment required in eliminating private racial discrimination. [return to text]

45. [Brennan] According to 89 schools responding to a questionnaire sent to 112 medical schools (all of the then-accredited medical schools in the United States except Howard and Meharry), substantial efforts to admit minority students did not begin until 1968. That year was the earliest year of involvement for 34% of the schools; an additional 66% became involved during the years 1969 to 1973. See C. Odegaard, Minorities in Medicine: From Receptive Passivity to Positive Action, 1966-1976, p. 19 (1977) (hereinafter Odegaard). These efforts were reflected in a significant increase in the percentage of minority M. D. graduates. The number of American Negro graduates increased from 2.2% in 1970 to 3.3% in 1973 and 5.0% in 1975. Significant percentage increases in the number of Mexican-American, American Indian, and mainland Puerto Rican graduates were also recorded during those years. Id., at 40. [return to text]

The statistical information cited in this and the following notes was compiled by Government officials or medical educators, and has been brought to our attention in many of the briefs. Neither the parties nor the amici challenge the validity of the statistics alluded to in our discussion.

46. [Brennan] D. Reitzes, Negroes and Medicine, pp. xxvii, 3 (1958). [return to text]

47. [Brennan] Between 1955 and 1964, for example, the percentage of Negro physicians graduated in the United States who were trained at these schools ranged from 69.0% to 75.8%. See Odegaard 19. [return to text]

48. [Brennan] U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Minorities and Women in the Health Fields 7 (Pub. No. (HRA) 75-22, May 1974). [return to text]

49. [Brennan] U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census, vol. 1, pt. 1, Table 60 (1973). [return to text]

50. [Brennan] See ante, at 276 n. 6 (opinion of POWELL, J.). [return to text]

51. [Brennan] See, e. g., R. Wade, Slavery in the Cities: The South 1820-1860, pp. 90-91 (1964).[return to text]

52. [Brennan] For an example of unequal facilities in California schools, see Soria v. Oxnard School Dist. Board, 386 F.Supp. 539, 542 (CD Cal. 1974). See also R. Kluger, Simple Justice (1976). [return to text]

53. [Brennan] See, e. g., Crawford v. Board of Education, 17 Cal. 3d 280, 551 P. 2d 28 (1976); Soria v. Oxnard School Dist. Board, supra; Spangler v. Pasadena City Board of Education, 311 F.Supp. 501 (CD Cal. 1970); C. Wollenberg, All Deliberate Speed: Segregation and Exclusion in California Schools, 1855-1975, pp. 136-177 (1976). [return to text]

54. [Brennan] For example, over 40% of American-born Negro males aged 20 to 24 residing in California in 1970 were born in the South, and the statistic for females was over 48%. These statistics were computed from data contained in Census, supra n. 49, pt. 6, California, Tables 139, 140. [return to text]

55. [Brennan] See, e. g., O'Neil, Preferential Admissions: Equalizing the Access of Minority Groups to Higher Education, 80 Yale L. J. 699, 729-731 (1971). [return to text]

56. [Brennan] Congress and the Executive have also adopted a series of race-conscious programs, each predicated on an understanding that equal opportunity cannot be achieved by neutrality because of the effects of past and present discrimination. See supra, at 348-349. [return to text]

57. [Brennan] Negroes and Chicanos alone constitute approximately 22% of California's population. This percentage was computed from data contained in Census, supra, n. 49, pt. 6, California, sec. 1, 6-4, and Table 139. [return to text]

58. [Brennan] The constitutionality of the special admissions program is buttressed by its restriction to only 16% of the positions in the Medical School, a percentage less than that of the minority population in California, see ibid., and to those minority applicants deemed qualified for admission and deemed likely to contribute to the Medical School and the medical profession. Record 67. This is consistent with the goal of putting minority applicants in the position they would have been in if not for the evil of racial discrimination. Accordingly, this case does not raise the question whether even a remedial use of race would be unconstitutional if it admitted unqualified minority applicants in preference to qualified applicants or admitted, as a result of preferential consideration, racial minorities in numbers significantly in excess of their proportional representation in the relevant population. Such programs might well be inadequately justified by the legitimate remedial objectives. Our allusion to the proportional percentage of minorities in the population of the State administering the program is not intended to establish either that figure or that population universe as a constitutional benchmark. In this case, even respondent, as we understand him, does not argue that, if the special admissions program is otherwise constitutional, the allotment of 16 places in each entering class for special admittees is unconstitutionally high. [return to text]

59. [Brennan] See Census, supra n. 49, Sources and Structure of Family Income, pp. 1-12. [return to text]

60. [Brennan] This percentage was computed from data presented in B. Waldman, Economic and Racial Disadvantage as Reflected in Traditional Medical School Selection Factors: A Study of 1976 Applicants to U. S. Medical Schools 34 (Table A-15), 42 (Table A-23) (Association of American Medical Colleges 1977). [return to text]

61. [Brennan] This figure was computed from data contained in Census, supra n. 49, pt. 1, United States Summary, Table 209. [return to text]

62. [Brennan] See Waldman, supra n. 60, at 10-14 (Figures 1-5). [return to text]

63. [Brennan] The excluded white applicant, despite Mr. Justice POWELL's contention to the contrary, ante, at 318 n. 52, receives no more or less "individualized consideration" under our approach than under his. [return to text]