As expressed in his "I Have a Dream" speech Martin Luther King's wish was for equal opportunity to people no matter their color. In order to effect this "equal" opportunity, the federal government first effected hiring quotas in the mid-1970s and Affirmative Action later on. Problems have arisen from some of the standards of Affirmative Action. For instance, in the case of a young Caucasian woman with a GPA of 3.81 who wished to enter law school in Michigan, after scoring higher than many minorities on the LSAT test [the law school admissions test--she scored 161] and being refused entry, she felt that she was discriminated for a number of reasons, including the fact that minorities received something like 40 extra points on the exam; moreover, minorities were admitted with lower scores than her. Her lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court: Barbara Grutter v. Lee Bolling [pres. of U. of Michigan]et.al
The defense argued that the Fourteenth Amendment was violated; however, the court ruled in favor of the University of Michigan. Those who dissented argued that the university was imposing a quota system, which had been ruled unconstitutional in a previous case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.
Chief Justice Rehnquist, joined by Justices Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas [who is an African-American], dissented, arguing that the University's "plus" system was, in fact, a thinly veiled and unconstitutional quota system. Chief Justice Rehnquist cited the fact that the percentage of African American applicants closely mirrored the percentage of African American applicants that were accepted.
There have been many other cases that have gone to the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, despite rulings in favor of providing opportunities to minorities, especially in federal government jobs, there remains the issue of poverty and underachievement regarding King's dream for his people.