Interview with Mary Frances Berry

Now, I'd like you to, um, think about you're being a Black appointed official in Washington in 1977, looking at the Bakke case coming up, even before you could point to the chilling effect or the conclusion, which we'll get to later, what did you think then, in '77, was the significance of the case?


When I heard about the Bakke case, and the necessity for the federal government to take a position, and the claims about it being reverse discrimination, there was sort of this deep apprehension, because I understood that a legal change would provide a basis for people to withdraw a commitment from what was going on. And I worried greatly about the kind of arguments that would be made and the kind of defenses, and the control over language, which is so important, in trying to get the court to understand what was necessary.