By Susan Welch
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Extra info for Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools
At the oral conference, Powell expressed his ambivalence on this issue. He came out against the Davis program but commented favorably about the Harvard plan that did take race into consideration (B. Schwartz 1988, 93-98). Ultimately Powell's opinion would reflect these initial feelings. Powell said that because race is a "suspect classification" the Court should exercise "strict scrutiny" of any law or policy, such as Davis's program, that classifies according to race. " 10 The university asserted four justifications for the program: to reduce the underrepresentation of minorities in medicine, to increase the number of doctors in minority communities that were underserved, to counter the effects of discrimination in society, and to provide educational benefits for an ethnically diverse student body.
421 ; International Association of Firefighters v. S. S. v. S. 149 ). The Sheet Metal Workers' union in New York City, the fire department in Cleveland, and the state troopers in Alabama all had histories of discrimination. Then the Court extended its affirmative action doctrine to cover women as well as racial minorities in 1987 Uohnson v. S. 616). The Transportation Agency of Santa Clara County, California, promoted a woman over a man who was considered marginally better qualified according to the personnel measures used by the agency.
But, of course, adopting Brennan's assumption would be a major step, if not a leap, for the Court to take, and Powell was not ready for the Court to take it. Powell's dismissal of the distinction between goals and quotas was sufficient for his opinion, but it did little to clarify the underlying confusion between these two concepts. 11 This confusion would emerge as a significant factor in the impact of the case and in the continuing discussion of affirmative action. Muddying the factual record of admissions to Davis were the exceptions made for veterans; applicants with "unusual" records; and "special friends" of the university, as chosen by the dean of the medical school.
Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools by Susan Welch