Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Justice Ginsburg’s Advocacy and the Future of Equal Protection - Yale Law Journal Online

Ruth Ginsburg explained when I was a student in her civil procedure class that she like the NAACP she would chip away at the problem of gender-based discrimination  until the Supreme Court accepted the principle of strict scrutiny of gender-based classifications.  Like others at the time she targeted stereotypes (men should share in the housework was a common cry).  In one of her early victories she defended a stay at home dad.  Cary Franklin discusses Ginsburg's approach.  The Justice follows with some comments of her own. - GWC
The Yale Law Journal Online - Justice Ginsburg’s Advocacy and the Future of Equal Protection: 'via Blog this'
by Cary Franklin, U. Texas Law School

In the early 1970s when Ruth Bader Ginsburg began to litigate constitutional cases about sex discrimination. At that point, the Supreme Court had never invalidated a law on the ground that it discriminated on the basis of sex, and laws that discriminated on the basis of sex triggered no special scrutiny under the Fourteenth Amendment. So, as a lawyer, Justice Ginsburg faced a substantial obstacle: she had to persuade the Court that, contrary to what it had believed for the first two centuries of this nation’s history, sex discrimination was a problem of constitutional magnitude. But she also had a significant opportunity to shape the Court’s understanding of what sex discrimination was and when it ran afoul of the Constitution.At the start of her litigation campaign, Ginsburg made a highly consequential, nonobvious choice. She decided to challenge the constitutionality of sex discrimination in cases with male plaintiffs. As a result, sex-based equal protection law in the United States was constructed, in significant part, in cases brought by men. To this day, men outnumber women among the ranks of constitutional sex discrimination plaintiffs who have reached the Supreme Court.Why did Ruth Bader Ginsburg decide to bring sex discrimination cases on behalf of men? 

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