Bob Hirschfeld Jun-17-93 02:36PM Ruth Bader Ginsburg Several hours ago, I crossposted Rich

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Bob Hirschfeld Jun-17-93 02:36PM Ruth Bader Ginsburg Several hours ago, I crossposted Richard Donovan's much-appreciated five posts, regarding Supreme Court Nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from the LAW Echo, which I moderate, onto several other echos where I felt they would be of interest. From what I have read, Ruth Ginsburg is the first Supreme Court Nominee I have felt able to enthusiastically support in a very long time. Her roots are not only in the Egalitarian mainstream of Feminism, but also of the American Civil Liberties Union. Upon reading Mr. Donovan's informative news posts, I went from my law office computer, where I was accessing FidoNet, to a bookshelf a few feet away and pulled down Volume 36, Lawyer's Edition Second, a version of the Supreme Court reports printed in 1973. (Also can be found at 411 US 67 and 93 S Ct 1764) At 36 L.Ed 2d 583, I began to read the opinion in FRONTIERO V. RICHARDSON, in which a young ACLU Attorney named Ruth Bader Ginsburg had the honor of arguing the Amicus Curiae brief on constitutional questions, submitted by the ACLU. Here's a brief reporter's syllabus from the LED 2d. to give you an idea of what this landmark sex-discrimination case was all about. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - "A married woman Air Force Officer (hereafter appellant) sought increased benefits for her husband as a `dependent' under 37 USC Sections 401,403....and 10 USC Sections 1072,1076..... Those statutes provide, solely for administrative convenience, that spouses of male members of the uniformed services are dependents for purposes of obtaining increased quarters allowances and medical and dental benefits, but that spouses of female members are not dependents unless they are in fact dependent for over one-half of their support. When her application was denied for failure to satisfy the statutory dependency standard, appellant and her husband brought this suit in District Court, contending that the statutes deprived servicewomen of due process. From that Court's adverse rule, they took a direct appeal. Held: The judgment is reversed. 341 F.Supp. 201, reversed. "Mr. Justice Brennan, joined by Mr. Justice Douglas, Mr. Justice White, and Mr. Justice Marshall, concluded that [the previously cited statutes] as inherently suspect statutory classifications based on sex, are so unjustifiably discriminatory as to violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. "Mr. Justice Stewart concluded that the challenged statutes work an invidious discrimination in violation of the Constitution. [Cites] "Mr. Justice Powell, joined by the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Blackmun, while agreeing that the statutes deprive servicewomen of due process, concluded that in light of Reed v. Reed, 404 US 71, 30 L.Ed 2d 225, 92 S.Ct 251, and the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment has been submitted to the States for ratification, it is inappropriate to decide at this time whether sex is a suspect classification...... [Rehnquist dissented]." [An interesting footnote in the 1973 decision is Number 17:] "It is true, of course, that when viewed in the abstract, women do not constitute a small and powerless minority. Nevertheless, in part because of past discrimination, women are vastly underrepresented in this nation's decisionmaking councils. There has never been a female President, nor a female member of this Court. Not a single woman presently sits in the United States Senate, and only 14 women hold seats in the House of Representatives. And, as appellants point out, this underrepresentation is present throughout all levels of our State and Federal Government. See Joint Reply Brief of Appellants and the American Civil Libertiers Union (Amicus Curiae) 9." - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Comment by Bob Hirschfeld: As an Egalitarian Feminist, a Father's Advocate, and a member of the State Board Executive Committee of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union, I am glad to see President Clinton take this opportunity to begin a greater "representation" of women in the U.S. Supreme Court. This new Justice's Egalitarian Views will, I hope, fairly reflect not only women's underrepresentation in some spheres of society, but also the underrepresentation of Fathers in such spheres as Custody of Children.


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