The Bakke Case: Challenging Affirmative Action

The Bakke Case: Challenging Affirmative Action

The Bakke Case: Challenging Affirmative Action

The Bakke Case: Challenging Affirmative Action

Synopsis

The impact and ramifications of cases argued before the Supreme Court are felt for decades, if not centuries. Only the most important issues of the day and the land make it to the nine justices, and the effects of their decisions reach far beyond the litigants. Under discussion here are five of the most momentous Supreme Court cases ever. They include Marbury v. Madison, Roe v. Wade, Dred Scott, Brown v. Board of Education, and The Pentagon Papers. An absorbing exploration of enormously controversial events, the series details, highlights, and clarifies the complex legal arguments of both sides. Placing the cases within their historical context (though they ultimately emerge as works in progress), the authors reveal each decision's relevance both to the past and the present. the result is a fascinating glimpse across the centuries into the workings of the Supreme Court and the American judicial system.

Excerpt

The impressive stone building that houses the United States Supreme Court stands in the heart of Washington, D.C., across a broad street from the Capitol building, where legislators make the laws that the justices of the Court interpret and apply. Depending upon the business of the Supreme Court on any given day, members of the public may enter the courtroom to watch and listen as the justices hear arguments in a case. Atypical audience contains school groups on field trips, a sprinkling of law students, a few members of the government or guests of the justices, and some tourists exploring the nation's capital.

People do not usually get very excited about these courtroom sessions, even though the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, even though its decisions have occasionally reshaped American law and society. The courtroom has four hundred seats for visitors. Often, some of them remain empty. But on October 11, 1977, people clamored for seats.

As afternoon faded into evening, people lined up outside the building, hoping to get a seat in the courtroom—not for that day, but for the next day. Three hundred seats had already been reserved for officials, guests of the justices, and people who were involved in the case that would be heard the following day, or who . . .

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