Court Case May Redefine Legal Standing of Women It Marks First 'Meaningful' Review of Gender Bias in 15 Years

By Robert Marquand and Kurt Shillinger, writers of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, January 18, 1996 | Go to article overview

Court Case May Redefine Legal Standing of Women It Marks First 'Meaningful' Review of Gender Bias in 15 Years


Robert Marquand and Kurt Shillinger, writers of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


THE Supreme Court heard arguments on gender discrimination yesterday in a case that could dramatically change the legal status of women in the United States.

On the surface, the case is a dispute over whether the all-male Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., should allow women into its rigorous training program. The Justice Department says VMI's state-supported program, established in 1839, discriminates against women. Lawyers for Virginia and VMI argued that the case is less about discrimination and more about the virtue of single-sex institutions of learning.

But the Clinton administration raised the stakes in the VMI case yesterday in an extraordinary way. In a charged session, Justice Department lawyer Paul Bender asked the justices to create a new standard for the legal status of women in America - putting gender in the same category of rights now held exclusively by racial minorities under the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

If the court agrees with the government's request to give women this status, the result will be both a landmark decision and a potential explosion of gender-based litigation affecting schools, education financing, and other public institutions.

"We haven't had a meaningful review of gender discrimination in 15 years," says legal scholar Douglas Kmeic of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. "They {the administration} went for broke in this one."

The session, marked by constant questions from the justices, particularly Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, focused on whether women who attend a newly created "leadership" program at a sister college graduate with the same status and prospects as the VMI men.

Justice Ginsburg, a legal pioneer for women's civil rights, questioned whether the trademark "adversative" nature of the VMI military program was truly duplicated at the sister school.

The high court's decision to take the case is probably a result of competing judicial agendas. The VMI case meshes with Justice Ginsburg's judicial philosophy of civil rights. But conservative justices such as Scalia and William Rehnquist may try to use VMI to block a further creation of rights the Supreme Court would be responsible for adjudicating.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, whose son attends VMI, recused himself from the case, which is significant because the nine-member court could yield a rare split decision in a controversial case.

'Separate but comparable' schools

Last January, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled that single-sex public schools can be "separate but substantially comparable." The basis for the ruling, however, was Virginia's new "parallel program" for women at the all-female Mary Baldwin College. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Court Case May Redefine Legal Standing of Women It Marks First 'Meaningful' Review of Gender Bias in 15 Years
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.