Seleziona una pagina

Powell was convicted of the other crime of drunkenness in a public place. Even if Powell was forced to drink and therefore could not be convicted of drinking alcohol under constitutional law, his conviction can only be overturned in this case if there is a constitutional basis for asserting that he should not be punished for being drunk in public. The law at issue here, which seeks to prevent drunkards from walking on the streets for their own well-being and that of others, is not challenged on the grounds that it unconstitutionally infringes the right to public places. There is no question of applying this law to the non-chronic drunk person who has no compulsion to drink, who is not obliged to drink excessively and who could have arranged to drink in private or, if he began to drink in public, to leave at an appropriate time on the path of total drunkenness. The University of California, Davis Medical School opened in 1968 with an entry class of 50 students. In 1971, the size of the entry class was increased to 100 students, a level at which it remains. When the school opened, there was no admissions program for disadvantaged or minority students, and the first class consisted of three Asians, but no blacks, no Mexican Americans, and no American Indians. Over the next two years, the faculty developed a special admissions program to increase the representation of “disadvantaged” students in each class in medical school.1 The special program consisted of a separate admissions system that operated in coordination with the regular admissions process. It has been suggested that an admissions program that considers race only as a factor is simply a more subtle and sophisticated — but no less effective — way to satisfy racial preferences than the Davis program. However, a visual intent to discriminate is evident in the applicant`s preferential programme and is not contested in this case.

Such a facial defect does not exist in an admissions program where race or ethnicity is only one element of the selection process that must be assessed fairly against other elements. “A dividing line,” Justice Frankfurter noted in another context, “is no worse if it is narrow.” McLeod v. Dilworth, 322 U.S. 327, 329, 64 S.Ct. 1023, 1025, 88 L.Ed. 1304 (1944). And a court would not assume that a university claiming to have an apparently non-discriminatory admissions policy would use it as a cover for the functional equivalent of a quota system. In short, it would be in good faith not to prove otherwise in the manner permitted by our affairs. See, for example, Arlington Heights v Metropolitan Housing Dev.

Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 97 p.Ct. 555, 50 L.Ed.2d 450 (1977); Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 96 p. 2040, 48 L.Ed.2d 597 (1976); Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, 85 S.Ct. 824, 13 L.Ed.2d 759 (1965).53 Those who support the change now imposed on us rely on their own conceptions of the wisdom of this Texas law to erect a constitutional barrier whose timeliness is far from clear. Taking this position would severely limit states` efforts to solve a widespread and important social problem, and would do so by proclaiming a revolutionary doctrine of constitutional law that would also severely constrain state power to confront a variety of other harmful behaviors. The concept of “discrimination,” like the phrase “equal protection of laws,” is open to different interpretations because, as Justice Holmes explained, “a word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and can vary considerably in color and content depending on the circumstances and when it is used.” Towne v. Eisner, 245 U.S.

418, 425, 38 S.Ct. 158, 159, 62 L.Ed. 372 (1918). Therefore, we must seek all available assistance in determining the precise meaning of the legislation before us. Train v. Colorado Public Interest Research Group, 426 U.S. 1, 10, 96 S.Ct. 1938, 1942, 48 L.Ed.2d 434 (1976), cited in United States v. American Trucking Assns., 310 U.S. 534, 543-544, 60 S.Ct. 1059, 1063-1064, 84 L.Ed. 1345 (1940).

A review of Title VI`s long legislative history reveals Congress` intent to end federal funding for entities that violate a constitutionally similar prohibition of racial discrimination.