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June 29, 1978 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-06-29

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, June 24, 1978-Page 5
Marshall voices emotional dissent

almost-70, there was some of the old
fire and anguish in Justice Thurgood
Marshall as he voiced his dissent in the
Allan Bakke case.
"The dream of America as the great
melting pot has Clot been realized for
the Negro," he said. "Because of his
skin color, he never even made it into
the pot."
Marshall said it sadly and the other
eight justices looked solemn. Bakke
was the most important decision of the
year, delayed until the final days of the
court's term, brieded, argued, briefed,
rebriefed. The justices' faces shoed
their weariness. There was, for once, no
whispered banter, no humorous darts
flew from across the great mahogany
bench as often they do.
"WE SPEAK TODAY with a notable
lack of unanimity," said Justice Lewis
Powell, reading the court's divided and
redivided opinion. He said it slowly, ap-
parently determined that the southern
strain in his voice not obscure the im-
portance of what he was saying.
The depth of the division was evident.
It took an hour and five minutes of
reading in turn for the justices to
display all the facets of a verdict that
goes far beyond Allan Bakke.
The court ruled that the University of
California's medical school at Davis
illegally discriminated against Bakke
in refusing to admit him. But it also
ruled that race can be taken into ac-
count in future college admissions

AS CIVIL RIGHTS decisions go,
Bakke is now in queue with the big
ones: Plessy v. Fergluson in 1896,
which validated the principle that state-
ordained segreation is not wrong, and
Brown v. Board of Education-the 1954
decision that said it is.
Old phrases-given new meaning by
the term "reverse discrimination"-
rebounded for Bakke between the 24
Italian marble columns that enclose the
Supreme Court chamber.
"Money collected by color blind tax
collectors should be spent by equally
blind tax collectors" . . . "strands of
heritage, strands of emotion are
plucked by the case" ... "we all know

institutions that give preferences to
athletes and children of alumni, to the
affluent and those who have connection
to celebrities and the powerful."
LONG BEFORE the justices filed in-
to the court yesterday morning, the
word was out that this would be the end
of this year's Washington guessing
game, "Waiting for Bakke."
Functionaries refused to say in ad-
vance how many decisions there would
be this day; normally the number is
supplied. Aides made whispered
telephone calls to reporter friends the
night before. Important people
arrived-James Nabrit, who helped
argue the 1954 case, Jack Greenberg,

past legal director of the NAACP Legal
Defense Fund.
Minutes before 10 a.m., the wives of
Justices Marshall, Harry Blackmun,
William Brennan, John Paul Stevens
and Potter Stewart took the VIP seats
in the front of the hall.
BLACKMUN, ALREADY in his black
robe, ushered his wife into the VIP sec-
tion. The solicitor general of the United
States, Wade McCree, sat in front of the
bench awaiting the decision-just as
another black lawyer named Thurgood
Marshall, later also solicitor general,
had awaited Brown in 1954.
Forty-five seconds early-the cloks in
See MARSHALL, Page 11

Many offered opinions on Bakke

WASHINGTON (AP) - Never before
in its 189-year history had the nation's
highest court attracted so much un-
solicited advice in a single controversy
as it received in Allan Bakke's case.
More friend-of-the-court briefs took
sides in the "affirmative action" vs.
"reverse discrimination" debate than
in the series of cases that led to the
Supreme Court's 1954 landmark
decision outlawing racial segregation.
Not counting those submitted by
lawyers for Bakke and the University of
California, there were 58 briefs filed
with the justices - 42 backing the
university admissions policy and 16
siding with Bakke.

MANY OF THE briefs were filed
jointly in behalf of numerous in-
dividuals and groups.
The Bakke case split the nation's
traditionally liberal alliance of black
and Jewish groups.
Black civil rights organizations
argued that minority-conscious
programs are needed to make up for
past discrimination. But several Jewish
groups contended that the time had
come to put all persons' aspirations on
an equal competitive footing.
In siding with the university, the
Rutgers University board of regents
said, "This case is a watershed. It
marks the place at which the court

must decide whether the journey
toward a truly race-neutral society will
be continued or abandoned."
THE LAWYERS' Committee for Civil
Rights Under Law had sympathized
with Bakke's plight but said, "That is a
transitional inequity that is the cost of
permitting such programs but it should
not alone invalidate them ... absent
any element of racial oppression, of
perpetuation or protection of preferred
positions, or of invidious discrimination
against any group."
The American Jewish Congress
argued, "We submit that the univer-
See MANY, Page 11


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