Flashcards in Equal Protection-Sex Deck (16):
What type of scrutiny applies to Sex Discrimination?
Intermediate scrutiny applies.
• Immutable characteristic that is hard to hide
• Discrete and insular minority - group has less access to the political process and thus needs more protection.
○ was true in the early days and before women gained the right to vote.
• Long history of discrimination and subordination
Differences between race and sex that gives race more scrutiny
• Actual physical difference - some classifications based not on stereotypes, but on actual biological differences
• Strict scrutiny may make things like affirmative action harder to implement.
Reed v. Reed
minor son died. Adoptive Parents had been divorced for a few years. Mother filed to control the estate. Law provided that males had priority over females in administrating estates.
Court said to give a mandatory preference for one sex over the other is an arbitrary choice forbidden by equal protection.
Slightly higher review than rational basis, set the stage for later cases.
Frontiero v. Richardson
US law for military members; men could claim women as defendants, but women had to PROVE their husband was more than 50% dependent on her before claiming dependency.
Purpose was for convince, speed and efficiency, based on the assumption that the large majority of women were reliant on their husbands, but not vice versa.
Starts a heightened review that there is a legitimate method for this purpose.
• Court says: Legal burden should bear some relationship to individual responsibility.
○ Classification based on sex is a legal burden (imposed by the law)
○ Cannot say "you get something less because you are in a certain class."
Craig v. Boren
Intermediate Scrutiny - Gender classifications must "serve important governmental interests and must be substantially related to achievements of those objectives."
Provided heightened scrutiny from Reed.
Mississippi University v. Hogan
Male filed suit alleging sex discrimination against state-owned all-women nursing school.
If the statutory objective is to exclude or 'protect' members of one gender because they are presumed to suffer from an inherent handicap or to be innately inferior, the objective itself is illegitimate.
• MUW's policy of excluding males tends to perpetuate the stereotyped view of nursing as an exclusively woman's job.
There must be an 'exceedingly persuasive justification' to classify by sex.
• Higher than intermediate scrutiny?
United States v. Virginia
School used an "adversative method" that constantly endeavors to instill physical and mental discipline in its cadets and impart to them a strong moral code.
VMI argued that men learn differently from women, and there is a great educational benefit to learn from this style of learning.
Used Craig analysis
• Important interest - building strong citizen-soldiers
• Substantially related -
○ attempt to remedy with a separate women's school was not good enough. School would not be "equal" to women, so the Court did not allow it.
What does the Court look at for sex discrimination?
Is it based on actual differences, or based on stereotypes?
The Court rules, in VMI, there are no actual biological differences that prevent women from succeeding in this type of environment
Geduldig v. Aiello
California law excluded pregnancy-related disabilities.
Court used a lower-standard. Considered pregnancy a physical condition that, even though affects only women, "not every legislative classification concerning pregnancy is a sex-based classification like those considered in Reed and Frontiero.
Later overruled by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act which says that pregnancy discrimination is sex discrimination.
What is required to show a discriminatory purpose for sex discrimination
The law must be because of, not in spite of, discriminatory effects.
Personnel Administration of MA v. Feeney (1979) - Knowing something is going to happen, and a natural and foreseeable consequence of an action, is not enough to show purpose.
This standard makes it very difficult to prove discrimination if the statute is not facially discriminatory.
Romer v. Evans
Colorado Constitutional Amendment prohibits protection of sexual orientation from discrimination (prevents any law protecting gays from discrimination)
Court uses rational review
• Legitimate purpose
○ Conserve resources to fight other discrimination
○ Respect other citizens freedom of association (1st Amendment)
• Rationally related to the purpose - it is, but the Court finds it does not ("rational review with bite")
○ Court is looking for the "actual purpose" which is not customary under rational review. Any conceivable purpose is fine.
§ Court says the real purpose is to discriminate. Cannot seek out a particular group for harm. (similar to Hippie case)
Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center
Texas city denied a permit for the operation of a group home for the mentally ill.
5th Circuit held the city to an intermediate standard. Court said no, mental retardation is not a quasi-suspect classification and rational review applies.
• Under regular rational review, the rule should have stood, but the Court applied Rational Review "with bite."
The denial of the permit was invalidated.
Court fears that with heightened scrutiny, it may be more difficult to pass laws to help.
• Also a wide variation in the class, degrees of disability
• Protection for this group could lead to protection for numerous other groups.
Civil Rights Cases (1883)
Congress enacted a law that allowed full and equal access to public places and places for public amusement (hotels, amusement parks, fairgrounds, theaters, etc.) regardless of race or color.
Court requires state action for discrimination to be actionable under the 14th Amendment. Congress cannot prohibit discrimination by private companies.
What are the exemptions to state action?
• Public Function: company towns and white primaries; A corporation serving a public function is a state actor (performing a function that is normally/traditionally performed by the state)
○ March v. Alabama (1946) - Can the State punish someone for distributing religious literature in a company-owned town? No.
§ A company town must guarantee constitutional rights to its citizens
• Entanglement: the government authorized, encourages, or facilitated the conduct.
○ Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison (1974) - A private utility does not perform a state function. There is no entanglement with the state when a utility is heavily regulated, has a monopoly, and the state approved of the policy at issue.
Shelley v. Kraemer
Property owners signed a covenant that no property in the neighborhood could be occupied by any person not of the Caucasian race for 50 years.
Rule 1: Restrictive agreements standing alone cannot be regarded as violative of any rights guaranteed to petitioners by the 14th Amendment.
Individuals or groups can discriminate as long as there is no government/state action involved (at the time of this case).
Rule 2: Judicial enforcement of restrictive covenants is considered state action and thus cannot be discriminatory under the 14th Amendment.
What is the Enforcement Clause of the 14th Amendment?
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
• Only place in the Constitution that specifically authorizes Congress to enforce a section of the Constitution.
• Allows Federal supremacy over State law.