100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Allan Paul Bakke

Allan Paul Bakke

The Problem of Affirmative Action

“More than Anything Else in the World I Want to Study Medicine”

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

Allan Paul Bakke (1940-) successfully sued the University of California regents for admission to medical school after being denied under an affirmative action plan. His case became the first major test in the Supreme Court of the constitutionality of racial criteria in state-supported education.

Despite the importance of his case, Bakke shunned notoriety. He always said he only was pursuing a remedy to a personal injustice done to him when the University of California-Davis denied him admission to its medical school, even though he had higher test scores than a number of minority applicants who were ...

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