Craig v. Boren

(1976)

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Analysis may appropriately begin with the reminder that [Reed v.] Reed emphasized that statutory classifications that distinguish between males and females are “subject to scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.”… To withstand constitutional challenge, previous cases establish that classifications by gender must serve important governmental objectives and must be substantially related to achievement of those objectives.…

Reed v. Reed has also provided the underpinning for decisions that have invalidated statutes employing gender as an inaccurate proxy for other, more germane bases of classification.… In light of the weak congruence between gender and the characteristic or trait that gender purported to represent, it was necessary that the legislatures choose either to realign their substantive laws in a gender-neutral fashion, or to adopt procedures for identifying those instances where the sex-centered generalization actually comported with fact.…

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

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