Gender Equality and the Law Essay

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Gender Equality and the Law

One of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s primary goals of the Women’s Rights Project’s litigation was to prove that stereotypical treatment of gender under the law was unconstitutional. It was Ginsburg’s goal to make the Court realize that “the law’s differential treatment of men and women, rationalized as reflecting “natural” differences between the sexes, historically had tended to contribute to women’s subordination” (Ginsburg 11). Ginsburg carefully selected cases which she felt would produce the greatest results. To do this, she “pursue(d) a series of cases that illuminate(d) the most common instances of gender distinctions in the law (Ginsburg 14). In three cases, Reed v. Reed, Frontiero v. Richardson, and Craig v.
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The state said that the statute was designed to reduce the workload of its lower level courts and to prevent the possibility of intra-family fights. The United States Supreme Court reversed the judgement made by the Idaho Supreme Court, and stated in the opinion written by Chief Justice Burger, “to give mandatory preference to members of either sex over members of the other, merely to accomplish the elimination of hearings on the merits, is to make the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” (Goldstein 114). Ginsburg won the case because she proved that the state’s “distinctions, defended solely on the ground of administrative convenience,” were unconstitutional (Ginsburg 15). Without citing any previous cases in their opinion, the Court showed it was trying to move into a new realm of sex discrimination law.

In Frontiero v. Richardson 1973, the Court “built upon the Reed decision,” and used the same rationale in their opinion. (Mezey 18). The Court ruled that any “statutory scheme which draws a sharp line between the sexes, solely for the purpose of achieving administrative convenience, necessarily commands dissimilar treatment for men and women who were similarly situated, and thereby involves the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Constitution” (Goldstein 121). Therefore, the armed forces

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