William J. Brennan, Jr.: Opinion in Craig v. Boren

(1976)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

On its face, Craig v. Boren seems an unlikely case to cite for its important role in Supreme Court—and U.S.—history. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg (later a Supreme Court justice herself but at the time a litigator for the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union) remarked tongue in cheek to appellants' counsel, “Delighted to see the Supreme Court is interested in beer drinkers.” Craig concerned an Oklahoma statute permitting eighteen-year-old women to purchase beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% but requiring that men who wished to purchase 3.2% beer be at least twenty-one years old. Mark Walker, then an eighteen-year-old college freshman, decided to challenge the statute in court. Concerned that he might have difficulty demonstrating damages and thus obtaining standing to sue, his attorney recommended that Walker add a vendor of 3.2% beer as a plaintiff. Carolyn Whitener was accordingly added. As the case wended its way...

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William J. Brennan, Jr. (Library of Congress)

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