According to a Harris & Associates opinion poll, 63% of black parents and 56% of white parents say that their experience of being bused for desegregation has been "very satisfactory."

In Regents of The University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978), the Supreme Court confronts the growing debate over affirmative action. It strikes down a state medical school admissions policy that set aside a specific number of seats for minority candidates. Justice Powell's opinion takes a middle position and becomes generally recognized as stating the holding of the case, even though it is joined by no other Justices. Powell holds that "benign" racial classifications are subject to the test of "strict scrutiny," and the set-aside is unconstitutional. However, a race-conscious admissions policy that uses race as a "plus factor" in an effort to achieve "diversity" May be constitutional. As a result, the language of "diversity" becomes a key concept in the affirmative action debate.