naomichaney

Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971)

In Politics on 23/09/2009 at 9:37 PM


FACTS: An Idaho statute states that if other qualifications for being administrator of a particular estate are equal, then “males must be preferred to females.” In this case a probate judge appointed Cecil Reed the administrator of he and his ex-wife’s deceased son’s estate, citing no grounds other than to comply with the statute. Sally Reed appealed the decision, which was overturned by the district court, when they deemed the statute unconstitutional. The Idaho Supreme Court, after further appeal, upheld Cecil Reed’s appointment. The U.S. Supreme Court held, in a unanimous decision, that it was arbitrary and thus not reasonable to classify women in such a manner.


ISSUE: Is the Idaho statute stating that males must be preferred to females if other qualifications for being administrator of a particular estate are equal constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause?

REASONING: Chief Justice Burger: The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment denies states the power to legislate that different treatment be accorded to persons placed by a statute into different classes on the basis of criteria wholly unrelated to the objective of that statute. A classification must be reasonable, not arbitrary and must rest upon some ground of difference having a fair and substantial relation to the object of the legislation, so that all persons similarly circumstanced shall be treated alike. Royster Guano Co. v. Virginia, 253 U.S. 412, 415 (1920).

DECISION: Reversed and remanded

RULE: The Idaho statute stating that males must be preferred to females if other qualifications for being administrator of a particular estate are equal is not constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

NOTES AND COMMENTS: This case set an important precedent for Women’s Rights cases, it has been cited in cases such as Frontiero, as precedent for treating women differently than men when all other circumstances are alike is unconstitutional.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: