United States v. Virginia
518 U.S. 515 (1996)
- Virginia Military Institute
(VMI) was a publicly-funded college for students who wanted to join the
military. Only males were admitted.
- Several female students sued,
claiming that the policy was gender discrimination and was therefore an unconstitutional violation
of the Equal Protection Clause
of the 14th Amendment.
- Virginia argued that there
were good reasons for keeping the girls out, and that if they let them
in, the whole school would be ruined because they couldn't run the school
the same way.
- The Appellate Court accepted
Virginia's argument that instead of admitting women to VMI, they would
start a parallel program at another school.
- Virginia argued that females
could apply to one of Virginia's other publicly-funded schools (Mary
Baldwin College), which was pretty much the same thing.
- However, the schools were
not academically comparable.
- The US Supreme Court reversed
and found Virginia policy of excluding females from VMI was an
unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
- The US Supreme Court found
that those seeking to defend a gender-based government action must
demonstrate an "exceedingly persuasive justification" for that
- That's Intermediate
- See Craig v. Boren (429 U.S. 190 (1976)), which found that the
proper level of judicial review for gender discrimination
was intermediate scrutiny.
- The Court found that
Virginia's arguments for keeping the females out were unpersuasive.
- "Virginia, in sum, has
fallen far short of the exceedingly persuasive justification that must be the solid base for
any gender-defined classification."