Celebrating Women’s History Month
March 9, 2019 by Heather Fuller
Many have fought to advance the equal rights of women but none more than Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her efforts began long before her appointment to the federal bench. She argued over 300 gender discrimination cases, including the 1971 landmark case, Reed v. Reed.
When minor Skip Reed died, his divorced parents each sought to be named as the administrator of his estate. The probate court chose Cecil Reed over his ex-wife Sally Reed as administrator in accordance with an Idaho law that gave a man preference over an equally qualified woman in such an appointment.
A unanimous court, in an opinion written by Chief Justice Berger, struck down the discriminatory law on the grounds that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Since the Amendment was passed in 1868, it had never before been applied to a law that discriminated based upon gender. This was a fundamental shift in the Supreme Court’s approach to women’s rights.
Notable is that not only women benefit from equal protection under the law, but gender equality protects the rights of men as well. Nothing beats equal protection for all, and we should credit the Notorious RBG for creating the legal momentum to break down gender barriers. #shero