Home » LAW » Frontiero v. Richardson 1973

Frontiero v. Richardson 1973

Baer and Goldstein, pp. 61-68.118-131 (4th edition)

Syllabus

A married woman Air Force officer (hereafter appellant) sought increased benefits for her husband as a “dependent” under 37 U.S.C. §§ 401 403, and 10 U.S.C. §§ 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 ruling, they took a direct appeal.

Held: The judgment is reversed. Pp. 682-691; 691-692.

MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, joined by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, MR. JUSTICE WHITE, and MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL, concluded that 37 U.S.C. §§ 401 403 and 10 U.S.C. §§ 1072 1076, as inherently suspect statutory classifications based on sex, are so unjustifiably discriminatory as to violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 682-691.

MR. JUSTICE STEWART concluded that the challenged statutes work an invidious discrimination in violation of the Constitution. Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71. P. 691.

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 the light of Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71, 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. Pp. 691-692.


15 Comments

  1. Women are finally making change in the roles they are forced to have. Women are capable of being the breadwinners of the house this case proves that theres discrimination occurring with men; they are able to be a woman’s dependent. Discrimination should not be occurring anywhere.

  2. The Supreme Court ruled that the Act in question required “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated,” therefore breaching the Due Process Clause and the implicit equal protection standards. However, a majority of the participants couldn’t agree on a review standard. The government’s interest in administrative convenience could not support discriminatory practices, according to Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.’s plurality judgment, which applied the same stringent standard of review to sex-based classification as it did to racial classification.

  3. In this case, the spouses are the ones who are affected by Frontiero’s request since they are unable to rely on their wives. In conclusion, this motion is seeking something good for the individual, but it also meant giving women a higher position, which contradicted the court’s long-standing narrative. There was a lot of hesitancy because of the implications of providing this perk. However, the court found this disparity in treatment between men and women to be unconstitutional, which is a win for equality, but it’s fascinating to observe how the dynamic changes when the roles are reversed.

  4. It can be difficult for spouses of service members to hold jobs, particularly if their partner keeps getting new orders and has to move across the country before they’re able to find something. It makes sense that it should apply to any partner in this case, not just a wife. The struggles faced by a military spouse are the same regardless of their gender, and the court moves it to a more equitable state.

    I also think it’s interesting that the concurrence wanted to wait for the ERA before making it a suspect classification. One of the biggest arguments against the ERA is that it is unnecessary because it is already protected by the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, but that has certainly seemed to not be case in the past.

  5. It seems to me like the federal statute placing extra requirements for women seeking dependency status for their husbands was a way of saying “there’s no way men are dependent on women” because men have always been deemed the breadwinners of the household.

  6. In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a backwards technicality which barred men from receiving a dependent’s allowance was unconstitutional on account of the 5th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Like Reed v. Reed, this shows the Court going in a radically different direction than it did decades earlier with cases like Muller v. Oregon. It seems like, beginning in the 1970s, the Court gradually accepted that equal treatment under the law included sex.

  7. In this case, the Supreme Court found that a federal law which stipulated different requirements for claiming a male or female spouse as a dependent was an violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Court reasoned that “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated” was unconstitutional. The Court’s ruling in this case appears to have social implications for women; that perhaps the Court is recognizing that women can be the primary provider for their family, including their male spouse.

  8. In this case the law was designed for husband to be the “breadwinner” or head of household. The fact that 99 percent of the military were male at the time, a husband being a dependent was unfathomable. The stipulation of women having to prove she paid more than one-half of her husbands’ living expenses was more than likely put in place to stop fraud. With this requirement not in place it would have been quite easy for husbands of military wives to work full time as civilian and claim dependency status of the armed forces.

    • “With this requirement not in place it would have been quite easy for husbands of military wives to work full time as civilian and claim dependency status of the armed forces.” Why would this be a problem, or better yet, unconstitutional? For example, don’t married people choose which person’s health plan to use all the time?

  9. I found it curious to see the dynamic of this case. We have seen in previous cases how law has been utilized to benefit men and create more differences between sexes. Also, we have seen how majority of cases taken the woman is the one affected. However, in this case the request made by Frontiero places the husbands as the affected as they could not be dependent of their wives. At the end of the day this request is seeking for something beneficial for the man, but it meant giving woman a greater position, which did not fit the narrative the court had for many years. There was a lot of hesitation because of what entailed giving this benefit. Fortunately, the court did find this distinction of treatment between sexes unconstitutional which is a victory for equality, but it is interesting to see the dynamic when roles are reversed.

  10. This case ensured that our society kept up with the evolution of women’s roles as they were beginning to change. It became more and more frequent for a women to be the breadwinner of the house or to be in enlisted in the military while their husband stayed at home; things that originally were not accounted for in federal law. This case acknowledged the change in women’s roles.

  11. In this case, Sharron Frontiero was a lieutenant in the US Air Force and asked for a dependent’s allowance for her husband. However, her request was turned down because a dependent’s allowance was only offered for the wives of male members of the military, and since her husband was not a woman, he thus isn’t eligible for a dependent’s allowance. This is a violation of the Due Process clause of the 5th amendment because this statue had unequal treatment of men and women who are of similar status. Even so, justices chose not to view this case as a violation of that clause since they said that that clause was only for more large, arbitrary decisions. This is yet another time when society based sex-discrimination makes its way into legal decsion-making.

  12. In Frontiero v. Richardson, the legislative question being presented was whether or not the federal law requiring different qualifications for men and women for military spouse dependency discriminate against women and violate the fifth amendment’s Due Process? The court ruled that the equal protection in the fifth amendment due process clause were violated in the Federal Law that imposed requirements on women and not the same to men. One Justice presented the argument that the same classification of sex could be used with a strict standard review as a classification of race. However, three Justices supported the argument claiming that the Federal Law drawing lines between sexes alone was arbitrary legislation that is not permitted in the Constitution. Similar to Reed v. Reed, the Supreme Court presented an argument, that I believe, could provide future precedents stating the arbitrariness of gender-bias.

  13. Seeing that the Supreme Court found the differing qualifications for spousal dependency based on gender violated the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause is a success for gender equality because it helps to reverse the traditional gender roles that relegate the man into the role of breadwinner and protector. The court case allows married military servicewomen to be scrutinized under the same set of requirements that male service men must when seeking dependence for their spouse. The Court deemed this rule to violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection requirements.

  14. Desiree Estrada 3:00 PM Mar 9
    This case reminds me of the Charles Moritz case one of Ruth Bader’s first litigations before the supreme court. The case very similarly to Charles Moritz’s case discriminates against men. The case assumes gender roles, in this case it assumes that th man could not be a dependent on his wife’s behalf. Similarly in the Charles Moritz’s case it assumes that only a caregiver can be female. Thus, in this case we see a change as the court rules it unconstitutional that men indeed can be a dependent to military wives.
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    Ashanti Simpkins
    Ashanti Simpkins 1:06 AM Feb 23
    gender discrimination, in this case, directly affects male husbands whose spouse is in the military. The court rules that the dissimilar treatment of male spouses with female wives who are in the military was unconstitutional.
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    Mohammed Alzweiy
    Mohammed Alzweiy 9:07 PM Feb 18
    This case was interesting as the court ruled in favor of Frontiero, and it is an example of sex discrimination being applied towards men. This reminds me of the case of Charles Moritz which was addressed in the film “On the Basis of Sex”.
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    Jyah Vora
    Jyah Vora 4:02 PM Feb 17
    In this case, Sharron Frontiero a lieutenant in the Air Force sought a dependent’s allowance for her husband. However, the statute stated that wives of members of the military automatically became defendants (not the husbands unless they depended on their wives for over half of their support). The Court ruled that this statute was unconstitutionally discriminatory against women and therefore violated the 5th Amendment Due Process Clause. The reasoning for the Court was that this was a “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated.”
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    Osikenoya Usman-Aliu
    Osikenoya Usman-Aliu 10:46 PM Feb 16
    Facts
    Sharron Frontiero, a lieutenant in the United States Air Force, sought a dependent’s allowance for her husband. Federal law provided that the wives of members of the military automatically became dependents; husbands of female members of the military, however, were not accepted as dependents unless they were dependent on their wives for over one-half of their support. Frontiero’s request for dependent status for her husband was turned down.

    Question
    Did a federal law, requiring different qualification criteria for male and female military spousal dependency, unconstitutionally discriminate against women thereby violating the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause?

    Constitutional Provision at Issue
    Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause

    Holding
    8-1 decision for Frontiero

    Reasoning of the Majority
    The Court held that the statute in question clearly commanded “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated,” violating the Due Process Clause. Applying a strict standard of review to the sex-based classification, the Court found that the government’s interest in administrative convenience could not justify discriminatory practices. The Court held that statutes that drew lines between the sexes on those grounds alone necessarily involved “the ‘very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Constitution.'”
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    Grace Castillo Rojo Moreno
    Grace Castillo Rojo Moreno 10:42 PM Feb 16
    The law that it is pertinent to mention in Frontiero v. Richardson is that when females were part of the military, husbands had to be able to demonstrate that the wife was responsible of 1/2 of their support while in the case of men in the military it gave women all the benefits automatically. Sharron’s husband wanted all the benefits which of course the lack of the benefits was found unconstitutional which is clearly because he is a man. I would like to also mention that I think this law existed because women had to be “less” than men and they could never be in a “superior” position than men.
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    Ariana Lopez
    Ariana Lopez 9:16 AM Feb 16
    I am surprised with the turn out and decision. For it to be 1973, and for the courts to have deemed that application denial as unconstitutional is almost shocking. I would have thought them to side by it due to the recency of the Ohio cases that we read a couple classes ago.
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    Ben Lee
    Ben Lee 9:00 AM Feb 16
    This seems like a messy result, Though the decision was 8-1, the majority did not agree on a precise opinion. The plurality opinion found the sex was an inherently suspect classification. the 4 other justices in the majority declined to agree, but still felt the case should be overturned.
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    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles
    I will have to disagree. Are you saying that 5 of 9 (“the 4 other justices”) ruled that sex is a suspect classification, thus triggering the strict scrutiny level of equal protection analysis? I am subtracting 5 from 9 equals 4…
    3:27 PM Feb 16•Delete
    Ben Lee
    Ben Lee
    mean the 4 other of the majority. So the opinions were parsed out into 8 in favor, of those 8, 4 wanted gender to be considered a suspect classification. The concurrences of Justice Stewart and Justice Powell made up “the 4 other Justices.
    3:55 PM Feb 16•Delete
    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles
    got it, so a majority of the Court did not find that gender was inherently suspect, it does not trigger strict scrutiny?
    4:02 PM Feb 16•Delete
    Ben Lee
    Ben Lee
    Truthfully I am a little unclear on that. from what I understand, in this case strict scrutiny was applied, but this case did not act as precedent since the opinion was not shared by the majority.
    4:12 PM Feb 16•Delete
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    Kevin Lyles
    Seamus McNamara
    Seamus McNamara 8:17 AM Feb 16
    This case is interesting in its flipping of traditional gender roles. The higher position of Mrs. Frontiero over her husband I think uncomforted the court and the dependent in question being a man, as many of my classmates have noted, influenced the courts decision even if marginally.
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    Daniela Guerrero Rodriguez
    Daniela Guerrero Rodriguez 1:05 AM Feb 16
    In the case of Frontiero v. Richardson, Sharron Frontiero was a married woman and Air Force officer. Under federal law, the wives of male members of the military automatically became dependents and received allowances and benefits. However, Husbands of female members had to prove that the wife was responsible for over one-half of their support. Sharron Frontiero was denied her application for benefits because she failed to prove that her husband was in fact dependent, once this matter was taken to court, the court recognized that the federal military law was unconstitutional. This result achieves equality in the matter, nonetheless, I have to agree with my classmates, it is hard to assume that this decision has disregarded the fact that the victim is male.
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    Denice Bernal
    Denice Bernal 12:46 AM Feb 16
    Not only does this precedent seem unconstitutional it seems intentional. This precedent would have discouraged women from holder higher positions than their husbands and sacrifice their positions in their relationships in order to ensure that her husband would have the better job in order to ensure medical and other such benefits.
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    Nizar Quafisheh
    Nizar Quafisheh 11:39 PM Feb 15
    Regarding the result of this case it is pleasant, as Mrs. Frontiero was able to rightfully receive what pursued in the court of law, which has been rare as we analyze the cases of previous women. However, as my classmates point out it is hard to assume that the result of the fifth amendment’s due process being upheld is not because the victim in this case was a male.
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    Yoli Esparza
    Yoli Esparza 11:36 PM Feb 15
    It’s oddly shocking this situation. to see hat the reversal of the roles for this case in particular because the men seen as the dependent, as this hardly ever happened during the time this case took place as women were the ones who were seen as needing protection.
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    Jeff Gemini
    Jeff Gemini 11:19 PM Feb 15
    Good to see it reversed as this is an instance of sexual discrimination for sure. This case is later in date then a lot of what we have looked at so far and I think progression shows here as well. 1973 isn’t crazy recent but its 100 years newer then a lot of cases we have looked at. As such it shows progression has happened in SCOTUS.
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    Tanmayi Kadamuddi
    Tanmayi Kadamuddi 10:44 PM Feb 15
    This case seems almost like anomaly when considering the handful of cases we have looked at thus far. I was pleasantly surprised upon seeing that SCOTUS found the federal law in violation of the due process clause of the 5th amendment, since much of what we have studied proved that they weren’t as willing to do so in cases where the 14th amendment is said to be in violation. It is interesting to see the court take on a position that does not perpetrate the notion that women should just stay at home and leave work, such as serving, to men.
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    Ana Al Saad
    Ana Al Saad 10:44 PM Feb 15
    Justice Brennan’s inclusion of a section of the Court’s opinion on Bradwell v. Illinois is interesting as they now explicitly denounce it and recognizes its role in shaping the Court’s decision to decide cases with “…gross, stereotypical distinctions between the sexes…”
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    Catherine Ortega
    Catherine Ortega 10:17 PM Feb 15
    This video is HILARIOUS. I wasn’t sure what the relevance was but when I saw the cat at 4:30 it suddenly all made sense.

    In all seriousness though, Frontiero pushes their case through the 5th Amendment because it’s applied to Federal law, which would in turn limit State legistlature. I loved when it was stated that law enforced gender discrimination was referred to as “romantic paternalism,” ultimately harming rather than benefitting the female sex. I may be wrong about this, but it was in the Fronterio case that sex was officially established as a semi-suspect classification and therefore protected under the ‘equal protection clause’ of the 5th Amendment.

    I think it is also worth noting that in this case as well as Reed, it was recognized as an essential point that Administrative simplicity was not a “reasonable” enough explanation of sex discrimination. This would be an abuse of police power exercised by the authority of the State.
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    Jocelyn Rodriguez
    Jocelyn Rodriguez 10:11 PM Feb 15
    Considering the history the SC has with protecting women rights and equality in general I wonder if this outcome was more of a result that a man was the victim (they had to show proof that he was dependent) and thus were more willing to make a case to display it was unconstitutional than to simply past the responsibility along to another institution (often the state) which was often seen when women were being discriminated against.
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    Zuzanna Kubiszewska
    Zuzanna Kubiszewska 9:11 PM Feb 15
    This case is strangely surprising. To me, it seems like the role reversal of seeing a woman as the breadwinner of a relationship is something that doesn’t happen very often during the time period in which the case took place so this is quite the interesting case in the first place. As other classmates of mine have pointed out, I’m curious towards the true reasoning behind why this case was taken up in the first place. SCOTUS obviously has discretion when it comes to what cases are heard and I found this to be an interesting selection, though one that cemented the notion that women have the capability of being the main providers within the family. I wonder if they did that because SCOTUS wanted to acknowledge a woman’s ability to be a provider or if they just felt bad for the husband
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    Tina Tran
    Tina Tran 9:03 PM Feb 15
    I find this case very interesting because now the men are the dependents, this is a new precedent that we haven’t seen before.
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    Emma Floyd
    Emma Floyd 8:46 PM Feb 15
    Since the Frontieros were challenging a federal law, they used the Fifth Amendment as opposed to the Fourteenth Amendment because the Fourteenth amendment uses the phrase “no state.”
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    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles
    excellent
    9:25 PM Feb 15•Delete
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    Kevin Lyles
    Haneen Abdelhafez
    Haneen Abdelhafez 8:06 PM Feb 15
    The Court’s disagreement as to which level of scrutiny should apply to gender classifications (strict or rational) is conflicting to me. Again, another instance where the political and perhaps religious ideologies of the justices determine cases like these. It is also important to ponder about what the results would have been if the roles were switched, as my classmates pointed out.
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    Xiomara Martinez
    Xiomara Martinez 7:44 PM Feb 15
    Very surprising that the Court would rule this case like this. Although, I think maybe it has to do with men not receiving the same benefits as women do. I do not think it was mainly because of the discrimination of servicewomen.
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    Krystal Garcia Centeno
    Krystal Garcia Centeno 7:06 PM Feb 15
    This case determined that benefits given by the United States military to the family of service members cannot be given out differently because of sex. The Court held that the statue violated the Due Process Clause and the equal protection requirements that clause implied.
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    Matt Springer
    Matt Springer 5:53 PM Feb 15
    In Frontiero v. Richardson, Frontiero, lieutenant in the Air Force, sought a dependent’s allowance for her husband. Federal law provided that the wives of members of the military automatically became dependents; husbands of female members of the military, however, were not accepted as dependents unless they were dependent on their wives for over one-half of their support. Frontiero’s request for dependent status for her husband was turned down. She clearly filed suite. The CQ of this case is did a federal law unconstitutionally discriminate against women thereby violating the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause? The Court said, in a 8-1 decsion, YES because the statute in question clearly commanded “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated,” violating the Due Process Clause and the equal protection requirements that clause.

    This case really makes you wonder how it would have been if it were the other way around. If the woman were completely depended here, would she be getting the benefits of winning this case? Although, that video was 10/10 quality, literally the best thing I a have seen all day. This class NEEDS video briefs!
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    Mayra Villa
    Mayra Villa 5:20 PM Feb 15
    I definitely agree with the point that if a woman was asking for that sort of financial support and benefits, the Court would’ve dragged this case out and possibly not rule in their favor, as others have brought up. Seeing that the husband was a dependent, they ruled in Frontiero’s favor, and I’d say it’s solely because he’s a man and should’ve been the person providing, not the other way around, especially in this time period. Also to comment on that last gif, it’s frustrating how women are expected to prove themselves and how they aren’t lying when men aren’t, and it clearly makes that point.
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    Donny Situ
    Donny Situ 4:48 PM Feb 15
    There’s a trope in military culture about soldiers fresh out of boot camp marrying purely for those military spouse benefits (among other things like buying a Camero with horrible interest rates) but they are often characterized as men. Perhaps this is due to demographics being predominately men, but I was shocked to learn that leading up to Frontiero v. Richardson, those same spousal benefits do not apply despite the perquisite circumstances being the same (if we ignore gender). Glad to read that the Supreme Court declared the military policy unconstitutional and that the plurality agreed that the issue of gender discrimination is very much a thing and should be examined under the standard of strict scrutiny.
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    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles
    A “Camero” This sounds like a personal experience…? So, do you agree with the Court that the laws, 37 U.S.C. §§ 401 403, and 10 U.S.C. §§ 1072 1076, violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment? Also, wait a minute, what you do mean by “a plurality agreed that the issue of gender discrimination is very much a thing and should be examined under the standard of strict scrutiny.” What does “plurality” mean?
    6:36 PM Feb 15 (edited 6:58 PM Feb 15)•Delete
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    Kevin Lyles
    Arnold Brown
    Arnold Brown 4:13 PM Feb 15
    I agree with my classmates, it was surprising to see the “roles reverse.” The husband was the one who did not have the law in his favor (although this law also negatively affected the wife as well). I wonder if they reached a remedy, without much disagreement/objection, because the case centered around the man.
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    Brianna Moling
    Brianna Moling 11:59 AM Feb 15
    In this case, Sharron Frontiero was in the Air Force and requested her husband become a dependent. However, her request was turned down. The Court ruled that this different qualification criteria for males and females (wives automatically become dependents, husbands did not) was unconstitutional. They reasoned that the dissimilar treatment violated the Due Process Clause of the 5th amendment.
    Reply
    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles
    Are you sure it was not the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment?
    12:11 PM Feb 15•Delete
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    Kevin Lyles
    Jacqueline Harmon
    Jacqueline Harmon 11:07 AM Feb 15
    This case was very interesting and I really think the courts had no way around this one. Reading that a woman was serving the country and being the one to provide made me happy, and I think given the time it was very counter cultural. It was extremely irritating that a woman in the service has to prove that she was providing for people back home.
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    Cassidy McLernon
    Cassidy McLernon 9:55 AM Feb 15
    I think this is a very interesting case because the wife is the one in the Air Force, not the husband. I’m sure at the time the majority of people would assume the husband would be in the military due to their ideas of gender roles. It’s great that the Supreme Court ruled in Frontiero’s favor, but a part of me believes that one of the reasons they did that was because the man was getting screwed over.
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    Nicole Solayman
    Nicole Solayman Feb 14, 2021
    This case is interesting, in the instance of a man needing more money as a dependent the court grants the request. The court rules that not granting men the dependent’s allowance was unequal and unconstitutional.

    The court’s ruling is interesting for two reasons: first, the court appears quick to ensure and allocate the proper resources and allowances for men. As my peers have also brought up, if a woman were to come up and try to retrieve monetary support, the decision might have been different or have stricter requirements.

    Second, in the context of gender roles, and how we view the role of the man as the breadwinner, the court’s ruling can be seen as maybe emasculating? Here, a man is dependent on his wife in a monetary sense to support his living. Should men be allotted the same resources as dependent women? Absolutely, and ultimately I agree with the court’s ruling. It is unfair for husbands of military personnel to be shorted on the basis of gender.
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    Rama Izar
    Rama Izar Feb 14, 2021
    I was pretty surprised while reading this case. In the last comic attached to this page, the bottom right box refers to this situation as a “rare situation” which was the logic used in questioning whether or not the husband was dependent on his wife for at least half the support. It’s obviously annoying that the wife had prove herself, but given the culture at the time (and strict gender roles), it kind of made sense that the situation itself was so foreign.
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    Annmarie Gobin
    Annmarie Gobin Feb 11, 2021
    I think it is interesting how in this case, the roles are reversed. When a man wanted to reap the benefits from a woman, it was an easy decision for the court. I think if the situations were reversed (although women do receive the benefits from their service husband) the case would have been decided differently.
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    Gaby Ramirez
    Gaby Ramirez Feb 11, 2021
    I found it really interesting to see the roles kind of reversed in this case. While it did demonstrate that men face gender discrimination at times too, the court seemed really willing to remedy the situation. I feel like if it was the other way around then it would not have been so easy.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user May 7, 2020
    While I agree with the ruling, I think it’s interesting how the judgement was reversed because it negatively impacted women but most importantly their husbands.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user May 7, 2020
    This case provides an understanding that gender based discrimination happens to men as well and proves that the court is willing to listen to men and provide a remedy to men when males are discriminated against, but rather when females face discrimination, it is least likely that they will have a court rule in their favor.
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    Malak Kanan
    Malak Kanan May 7, 2020
    This case attempts answer is sex a suspect classification? Majority of the supreme court has never said that sex is a suspect classification it is subject to strict scrutiny!
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    Nadeen Elsayed
    Nadeen Elsayed Apr 13, 2020
    It’s important to remember this while reviewing this case: plurality is not majority, which is why sex was not a suspect classification in Frontiero.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 25, 2020
    A first in the example of cases that finally address some gender-based discrimination only being listened to when it is on the male side of discrimination, which in turn doubles to discriminate women as well
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    Jessica Myles
    Jessica Myles Feb 23, 2020
    This case is often viewed as discrimination towards men, but the facts of this case are both discriminatory towards men and women. By depriving women in the military the right to provide for their husbands the same way they can is insinuating that women don’t need/deserve to insure financial security for their families even though they’re doing the same job.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 20, 2020
    The ruling in this case makes sense in a post Reed v Reed supreme court case, making arbitrary statues that discriminate on the basis on sex unconstitutional. What makes this case interesting to me is that it involves a branch of the military. I would like to see how supreme court cases involving the military compare to similar cases within the general population, as I know the military has been able to discriminate on the basis of sex in other aspects of military life until only recently.
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    Alexis Rodriguez
    Alexis Rodriguez Feb 17, 2020
    This case is important because it proved the military’s benefit policy unconstitutional; making military wives prove their husbands were really dependent of them, in comparison of wives depending on men. This brought forth the issue of sex discrimination in the Air Force, making them feel inferior, even though they were capable of doing the same tasks as the men.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 17, 2020
    GROUP 7
    Frontiero v. Richardson 411 U.S. 677 (1973)
    Facts-
    Female, Lieutenant Frontiero in the US Air Force wanted benefits for her husband.
    Military benefit policy stated that the wives of men in the military were allowed benefits-since women were inherently dependent on men.
    To gain benefits as the husband of a woman in the military, he would have to prove she pays for more than ½ of expenses; he must demonstrate he is a dependent.
    Lt. Fronteiro’s husband did not qualify, he was not dependent on her. He was unable to receive the benefits.
    Lt. Frontiero sues and appeals to the Supreme Court.

    Issue: Does the military benefit policy violate the constitutionality of the 5th Amendment’s Due Process Clause?
    Decision: Yes.
    Reasoning: The Supreme Court found that the military’s benefit policy was unconstitutional. There was no reason why military wives would need benefits anymore than military husbands. The Court argued that although women are more likely to be dependent on men than men on women, the times are different now and that is not guaranteed. It may actually be costing the military to guarantee benefits to all military wives. The Court applied strict scrutiny standard in this case to determine that receiving benefits could not be granted differently because of sex.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 17, 2020
    . Frontiero is an important decision in several respects, including the fact that it informed the military establishment that in terms of pay, allowances and general treatment, women must be considered on an equal plane as men.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 16, 2020
    Frontiero v. Richardson is unique to study because the military law serves to punish the husband simply because he is providing less than the wife and she is a member of the Air Force. This was not a general law that applied to managers at Sears, this is our federal government saying, “why should you get benefits for being married to a woman in the service? you’re a man.. go to work and pay 50.1% of the bills, if not more!” This punishes both of them for stepping outside gender roles. It is excellent that there are more general words used in the rulings so they cannot be manipulated, you cannot include sex in legislation is a broad and bold statement that aims to effectively protect aganist any sex based laws.
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    Abigail Zurita-Calvario
    Abigail Zurita-Calvario Feb 13, 2020
    Group 8 Brief
    Frontiero v. Richardson 411 U.S. 677 (1973)
    Sharron Frontiero, a lieutenant in the United States Air Force, wanted a dependent’s allowance for her husband. Federal law provided that the wives of members of the military automatically became dependents; husbands of female members of the military, however, were not accepted as dependents unless they were dependent on their wives for over one-half of their support. Frontiero’s request for dependent status for her husband was denied.
    Did a federal law that requiring different criteria for male and female military spousal dependency, unconstitutionally discriminate against women under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause?
    Decision: Yes (8-1)
    Reasoning: The statutes deprived servicewomen and their spouses from the same rights and privileges granted to servicemen and their spouses. A law that requires dissimilar treatment for men and women is unconstitutional.

    I think the denial of Frontiero’s request is a blatant example of the continuance of an unequal agenda regarding men and women. There is this strong concept, some may say culture, that men cannot be anything but the provider of the home. When situations like these appear, it threatens to debunk this sexist and misogynistic culture which is why they are shut down right away, just like Frontiero’s request. This country continues to emit a culture that places men as the providers and women as the receivers.
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    Elizabeth Peralta
    Elizabeth Peralta Feb 13, 2020
    I think it’s important to notice that this case shows the difference in expectations that genders had not only in society but in the military as well. The law failed to realize that women in the force could have their husbands be dependent on them, and that men won’t always be the primary income in a home. This case outcome was a good step towards the right direction in fighting discrimination on the basis of sex.
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    Nancy Martinez Arocho
    Nancy Martinez Arocho Feb 13, 2020
    After Reed v. Reed, I think we start seeing a shift between constitutional rights relating to gender protections against discrimination being expanded, which were not protected previously under the constitution in the same way that race is. I am interested to find out how the dependency application in the military works? after this ruling, do all military members have to prove their spouse is dependent for over half of their support or do all military members spouses automatically become dependents of their spouse, even if their salary is actually way higher?
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    Diana Alvarado
    Diana Alvarado Feb 13, 2020
    Group 6 Brief
    Frontiero v. Richardson (1973)
    411 US 677 (1973)
    Facts:
    Sharon Frontier, a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, sought housing and medical benefits for her husband, Joseph, that she claimed as a “dependent.” Although servicemen could automatically get benefits if they claimed their wives as dependents, servicewomen had to prove that their husbands were dependent on them for more than half their support. Joseph did not qualify, in which they could not receive benefits. Sharon sued and the case was appealed up to the Supreme Court.
    Issue: Did having different qualification criteria for male and female military spousal dependency violate the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause?
    Holding: 8-1 for Frontiero
    Reasoning:
    The Court held that the law violated the Due Process clause and the equal protection requirements since it clearly contained different treatment for men and women who in similar situations. Chief Justice Warren E. referred to the Court’s ruling in Reed v. Reed where any law that draws the line between sexes is unconstitutional.
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    Annalee Johnson
    Annalee Johnson Feb 12, 2020
    Group 5

    Facts of the Case
    Sharon Frontiero, servicewoman in the air force, sought a dependence allowance for her husband under federal law in which benefits are given to spouses of military members. Male military members could automatically claim their wives as dependents, but female military members had to account for over one-half of the income in order to claim their husbands as dependents. As such, Frontiero’s request was denied.

    Question
    Did differing criteria for men and women violate the 5th AMendment’s due process clause?

    Holding
    8-1: yes, the federal law was unconstitutional

    Plurality Decision
    The distinction between men and women under the basis of administrative convenience constituted as an arbitrary decision.
    Reasoning was approached based on the reasoning of Reed v. Reed

    Concurring Opinion
    The distinction along the sexes alone constituted an arbitrary decision.
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    Deidre Mensah
    Deidre Mensah Feb 12, 2020
    I am perplexed about the ruling of this case because mostly cases, and things in general, do not go in favor of women. Also, I was excited about how the justices in charge of this case did not let the idea of a man being dependent on a woman changed their mind from doing what is right, by ruling in favor of the woman and her husband. This made me feel like women can have a stand in the court and be treated equally, fairly and without discrimination if our society allowed it and were more open-minded about gender and all that comes with.
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    Brittany Tamayo
    Brittany Tamayo Feb 12, 2020
    The law that this case overturned in itself was discriminatory. It negated the fact that women can very much be in the service too, and be providers for their husbands, whether it was more than half or not. The ruling of this case it a step in the right direction, and shows that the Due Process clause was successfully being used to bring more equal rights to women.
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    Leya Ismail
    Leya Ismail Feb 12, 2020
    I’m actually surprised by the outcome of this case, because historically, recognizing man as being dependent on a woman was seen as straying from the traditional gender roles and indirectly went against “the law of the creator”. The Court held that the statute in question clearly commanded “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated,” which was a violating the Due Process Clause and the equal protection requirements that are stipulated within the clause.
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    Sylvia Waz
    Sylvia Waz Feb 12, 2020
    I think this case is a good step forward regarding women’s rights, especially with the military. I have noticed that the military tends to be more conservative when it comes to gender and women’s issues such as not allowing women to participate in combat until 2013. The fact that this happened in the 70’s is a good sign that the supreme court was willing to progress military procedures.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 12, 2020
    If a male had to prove that one half of his support came from his wife in order to qualify for the benefits but a woman in the same situation did not, I would say that is one sided. Maybe this is the governments way of dismissing the working woman. The supreme court reversed the decision that denied Frontiero of her requests for benefits for her husband on the basis that these benefits were being handed out differently based on gender.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 12, 2020
    landmark United States Supreme Court case which decided that benefits given by the United States military to the family of service members cannot be given out differently because of sex.
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    Marissa Scavelli
    Marissa Scavelli Feb 12, 2020
    In this case, Sharron Frontiero, a United States Airforce officer, wanted to claim benefits for her husband as a dependant, but her application was denied. She brought suit and her case was appealed to the Supreme Court where they ruled in an 8-1 decision in favor of Frontiero. The Supreme Court held that benefits given by the United States military to the family of service members cannot be given out differently on the basis of sex. Although, the concurring justices differed in their opinions, they unilaterally agreed that the law requiring differing criteria for male military spousal dependants the same rights as female dependants unconstitutionally discriminated against women in the military thus violating the 5th Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
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    Aysha Ahmed
    Aysha Ahmed Feb 12, 2020
    The federal law that was overturned by the S.C tried to confine a women’s ability to provide for her family. It was believed that any financial earnings would only be provided by the man even though the women was just as capable. A women must almost always be dependent on her husband. Gender discrimination was very apparent in this case and the law was said to violate the Due Process Clause.
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    Liliana Diaz
    Liliana Diaz Feb 12, 2020
    I found the Court’s ruling that the statue was in violation of the Due Process Clause refreshing. I think that in this case we start to see a shift that recognizes sex based discrimination and women’s roles in society. I do think however that this case seems to be very specific in that it takes into consideration sex based discrimination for people that are in similar situations (military). Still though, the fact that a man could be dependent on a woman was recognized by the Court is a big step forward
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 12, 2020
    Like Zara had said below it appears as if the court is starting to recognize this sex best discrimination in the law and is starting to do something about it. Reed v Reed was a unanimous decision and in this case it was 8-1 in favor of Frontiero, so it does appear as if most of the court is starting to recognize this. There was even comments made by justices pertaining to this case on how sex based discrimination is no different than raced based discrimination.
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    Kiera Gnatz
    Kiera Gnatz Feb 11, 2020
    A great example of the substantive due process issue we discussed in class! I do find it curious though that sex is only considered to be semi-suspect as a classification (being in the same category as illegitimacy, rather than race. I find it much more likely someone will be discriminated against due to their gender than I believe someone would be discriminated against based on the “legitimacy” of their birth.)
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 10, 2020
    Frontiero v. Richardson, the issue being did a federal law, requiring different qualification criteria for male and female military spousal dependency, unconstitutionally discriminate against women thereby violating the fifth amendment’s Due Process Clause. The court ruled yes, with various different opinions. The reason the 5th Amendment was used for argument and not the 14th Amendment, because the 14th states “No state shall”, neither parties were states to argue the 14th amendment. I find it intriguing that Justice Powell in his concurring opinion, would not go so far as to hold sex discrimination to the same standard as race. Discrimination is Discrimination Period!!!!!!
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    Zara Khan
    Zara Khan Apr 7, 2019
    It is again very refreshing to see that the Supreme Court is starting to recognize that this kind of gender based discrimination is unconstitutional. It seems that the Court is starting to shift their rulings on these types of cases. Although, I was not surprised by the fact that Sharron Frontiero’s application for housing and medical benefits for her husband were denied. I think this case is a good example of how gender based discrimination not only affects women, but men as well. In this case, I think the expectation was that husbands should be able to take care of themselves and only if they can’t pay for the majority of their living costs will they receive the benefits, whereas if it was a wife she was automatically seen as a dependent, which is a lot of gender role stereotyping within itself.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 14, 2019
    I’m reading comments that are saying they used the 5th amendment because the 14th amendment is “no state shall…” but a year later the SC would uphold a Florida statute that did not protect widowers just widows? Whats the difference besides the fact that this is a federal case not a state case? Is it because it was in line with the state objective?
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    Patrick Scaletta
    Patrick Scaletta Feb 13, 2019
    Two interesting points I found the Court noted were:

    A. ” Thus, to this extent, at least, it may fairly be said that these statutes command “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are . . . similarly situated.” I believe the fact that the Court found the parties involved (or other individuals the Frontieros symbolically represented) to be similarly situated. To me, that means there were no other material factors to otherwise justify or mitigate the biased legislation both on its face and in application.

    and

    B. ” Moreover, the Government concedes that the differential treatment accorded men and women under these statutes serves no purpose other than mere “administrative convenience.” The Court did recognize that at the time, at least 99% of service members were men. Any time and money saved (convenience) through the legislation would not have been a narrowly tailored method of furthering a governmental interest.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 13, 2019
    Frontiero v. Richardson tested the legality of sex discrimination. This case challenged the idea that women are dependent on men for money and other benefits. The Court dismissed the Air Force’s argument that they were saving administrative costs for automatically granting spousal benefits from military husbands to their wives. Although they did not consider if women need not be dependent on their husbands for benefits, therefore costing the Air Force extra.
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    Ines Josefina Castaneda
    Ines Josefina Castaneda Feb 13, 2019
    In this case the individuals involved finally are noticing that they need to use the amendment the deals with federal law not state.

    I also have reason to believe that this case was a win for fragile masculinity because men were being affected negatively an not receiving the allowance from their wifes who were serving. Men are belived the soul bread or money makers of the household and until they saw how that mentality affected them they did finally looked at it differently.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 13, 2019
    The significance of the Frontiero’s using the 5th amendment was due to the fact that this case challenging a federal not a state statute ( I.E. remember crukinshank no state shall , and boiling vs shapre DC not a state ), so that was the reason why they challenged this case using the 5th and not the 14th, also the justices knew when they decided even if the Frontiero’s used the 5th amendment the precedent would apply to the states as well . Also, i think something maybe a lot people overlook in this case was that the court was very divided on how the statue violated the due process clause and it should be noted to see that there was no majority in rational because I think it shows that at this time the court was shifting and even the justices were shifting on how they applied strict scrutiny in cases regarding gender and sex discrimination .
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 13, 2019
    The Court’s use of the 5th amendment instead of the 14th is due to the 14th amendment’s explicit phrasing of “No state shall” because neither parties are States, the Court can’t analyze this case under the 14th amendment’s due process clause.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 13, 2019
    The Frontiero’s used the 5th amendment because their complaint involved a federal statute. However, the court knew that their decision would apply to the due process clause of the 14th hence limiting state governments.
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    Denver Hatcher
    Denver Hatcher Feb 13, 2019
    Justice Brennan effectively cites Reed v Reed, admits to the longstanding discrimination on the basis of sex, and even refers to the reigning attitude as ‘romantic paternalism,’. He has a rather heartening approach to the verdict. However, all that is followed by Justice Stewart’s concurrence which is not much of an approvement on dissent. He states his weariness for providing that discrimination based on sex is a suspect claim that warrants judicial scrutiny. He calls this unnecessary for the ruling and considers it preemptive of an Equal Rights Amendment.

    This case helped me to contextualize the differing uses of the nearly identical Equal Protections clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments.
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    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles Feb 13, 2019
    Jung and Sophia, why the 5th and not the 14th?
    Reply
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    They used the 5th instead of the 14th because the 14th explicitly says “No state shall…”, and neither parties in the case are states. SCOTUS wouldn’t be able to analyze under the due process clause in the 14th amendment.
    Feb 13, 2019•Delete
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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 12, 2019
    “The uncertainty engendered by the Court’s opinion in Reed v. Reed surfaced the very next term in a case called Frontiero v. Richardson.”

    “Sharron Frontiero, an air force lieutenant, sought an increased housing allowance after she married, as well as dental and medical benefits for her husband, Joseph, a full-time college student. Under federal law, a married man in the armed forces was automatically entitled to such perquisites, whether his wife earned a lot or a little, but a married woman was unable to obtain them unless she could prove that her husband was dependent on her for more than one-half his support. Although Sharron earned more than Joseph’s monthly veteran’s stipend, he did not receive more than half his support from her. Sharron was therefore denied the additional benefits.”

    “The Frontieros sued in federal court, arguing that the difference in treatment of men and women violated the Constitution: the same benefits available to married men in the “uniformed services” should extend to married women, without a showing of actual dependency. (Because the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause applies only to action taken by a state-not by the federal government-the Frontieros had to invoke the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which does apply to federal action. However, the Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause to require equal protection from the federal government as well.) Normally, a federal case goes through three levels of review: the district court, the court of appeals, and the Supreme Court. But because this case presented a constitutional challenge to a federal statute, it came before a three-judge district court whose decision could be appealed directly to the Supreme Court.”

    http://supremecourthistory.org/lc_a_double_standard.html
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 12, 2019
    This is reversing the idea that women need to stay home and the men need to be breadwinners. Although the cases we described Tuesday and last week emphasize the women’s role in society as home makers and mothers, this case (like in Reed v. Reed) the basis of sex cannot be used to discriminate/ deny rights to someone.
    Reply
    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles
    “the basis of sex cannot be used to discriminate/ deny rights to someone” Is the ruling really that broad, or, it is a narrow ruling?
    Feb 13, 2019•Edit•Delete
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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 21, 2018
    Highly entertaining video depiction of the case with fantastic dialogue^

    In seriousness, it seems as though the Air Force spouse dependency law was drafted before it was even a possibility for women to serve.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 14, 2018
    https://www.thirteen.org/wnet/supremecourt/rights/landmark_frontiero.html
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 9, 2017
    Clear case of discrimination based on gender. Servicemen received benefits that servicewomen did not.

    Sidebar: While stories like this may be brushed aside as “women’s issues” – these are actually family and economic issues. When women do better, everyone does better. Once Sharron was granted the same advantage servicemen had, her husband also benefited from her gain.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 9, 2017
    While I was glad this case ended in a reversal, it is upsetting to hear that the case had to be taken up in the first place, as it completely went against the equality of both women and men, restricting them to these strict “ideal” gender roles society seemed so intent on upholding.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 8, 2017
    I agree with the court’s decision to allow men to be dependents of their spouses. The statue that this case overturned basically told women that belong in the house as the homemaker while, men should be the bread winner and not the other way around.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Mar 16, 2016
    This case directly reflects the idea as to what a woman role is and what a mans role is. Why shouldn’t a woman be able to apply benefits to her husband if she so chooses. I am glad that this was reversed and that they realized that this was a a sexist regulation.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 11, 2016
    wow this was deffinitely an interesting read. There was definitely unfair treatment of women in this case and it was definitely unconstitutional under the due process clause, but one of the main parts of this case is not at first what meets the eye. One of the main parts of this case is that some of the judges in the SC decided that cases involving gender should be seen as suspect because “congress has manifested and increasing sensitivity to sex-based classification ” and because “moreover since sex, like race and national origin, is an immutable characteristic determined solely by the accident of birth, the imposition of special disabilities upon the memvers of a particular sex because of their sex would seem to violate ‘the basic concept of our system that legal burdens should bear some relationship to individual responsibility’ weber v. aetena casualty and surety” but the thing is only 4 of the 9 judges were in aggrement with this 4 others decided that sex wasn’t a suspect classification and 1 blatantly dissented, so the suspect opinion now has a hard time treading the white waters of supreme court cases involving gender issues.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 11, 2016
    I too found interesting how a man can not possibly be seen as dependent to a woman, and that it must be proved. This was very sexist toward women and men. It it great that the court was able to recognize that this was non sense. It’s also striking to realize that relatively speaking, this case is fairly recent.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 10, 2016
    Is it discrimination to the man too? A husband is not a dependent automatically but a wife is….meaning a man has to prove he can’t pay for 1/2 his cost of living. I don’t know, I just thought about flipping the perspective.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 10, 2016
    I like Brennan’s words about “romantic paternalism” and it’s “placing women not on a pedestal, but in a cage”. Its nuts that this case was decided almost 45 years ago and these words still ring so true.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 10, 2016
    Yeah this is an easy case where there was, as the court itself said, “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated”. It’s good to see it was an 8-1 decision on such a topic in 1973, but sad that the law wasn’t changed until then. This in all likelihood was one of those things the military was not going to change unless told to… just so they could save a bit of extra money.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 9, 2016
    “Spouses of female are not dependents unless they are in fact, dependent for over one half of their support.”

    The more and more I read cases like these, the more I become angry and grateful for how much we have progressed. All these laws and regulations seem to only be concerned with gender. As Lyles constantly states, Newton’s 3rd law of motion “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” applies directly to this case. For the laws extended to all women, they were also granted to men. For all laws extended to men, WHY were they not granted to women?
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 12, 2015
    So let me get this right, the court is not saying that there is NO reason in which gender discrimination is acceptable. They are saying if there is a reason it better be reasonable, and WE will decide what is reasonable.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 11, 2015
    Sorry for the late comment, um but in the future could you guys upload your briefs? Makes it easier for everyone. But I find it unique that thos case clearly discriminates against servicewomen but the men they are married to as well.

    Pedro Ramirez
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 11, 2015
    “Nevertheless, it can hardly be doubted that, in part because the high visibility of the sex characteristic, women still face the pervasive, although at times more subtle, discrimination in our educational institutions, on the job market and, perhaps most conspicuously, in the political arena.”

    Within Frontiero v. Richardson, the Court appears to have reached a state where it is effectively saying, “my bad, we got it wrong,” in regard to the unequally structured laws along the lines of gender. However, I think it’s significant that the Court reaffirms the status of sex as a suspect classification under Brennan’s opinion. Race and gender frequently converge, seeming to place them on an even plane. The quote above, in my opinion, reflects many common themes between race and gender, and the case showed a shift in awareness on the part of many Justices.

    In addition, as the Court cited Reed v. Reed to illustrate a parallel arbitrary reasoning in regard to the laws in dispute in both cases, I think these two cases illustrate how quickly the Court can reverse itself, even if rare.
    Thomas Delregno – Team 4
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 11, 2015
    Sharron and Joseph Frontiero v. Elliot Richardson, Secretary of Defense
    411 U.S. 677 (1973)

    Facts of Case: Sharron Frontiero, a lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force, sought a dependent’s allowance for her husband. Under Federal law, the wives of male members of the military automatically became dependents and received housing and medical benefits. However, husbands of female members of the military were not accepted as dependents and could not receive the same benefits unless the servicewoman was able to prove that her husband was dependent on her for over one-half of his living costs. Frontiero’s request for dependent status for her husband was denied because she did not pay more than half of her husband’s living costs. Therefore, Frontiero pressed a claim alleging that this policy dined her the equal protection of laws afforded under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

    Question: does this difference in treatment constitute an unconstitutional discrimination against servicewomen in violation of the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment?

    Decision: Yes. 8 votes for Frontiero, 1 vote against

    Reasoning: the statute in question was so unfair that it clearly violated the “due process of law” and unreasonably discriminated on the basis of sex. By ignoring the individuals qualifications of particular applicants, the challenged statute provided “dissimilar treatment for men and women who are… similarly situated.” The Court found that following this type of statute would be applying exactly what the Constitution forbids.
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    Deleted user Feb 11, 2015
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued this case on behalf of the ACLU.

    ” The Air Force argued that the policy was intended to save administrative costs by not forcing the military bureaucracy to determine that every wife was in fact a dependent. Justice Brennan dismissed this argument, saying that, although as an empirical matter more wives than husbands are dependent for support on their spouses, still, by automatically granting benefits to wives who might not truly be dependents, the Air Force might actually be losing money because of this policy—and the Air Force had not presented evidence to the contrary”

    The plurality opinion of the Court argued suggested that a strict standard of judicial scrutiny for those laws and regulations that classified on the basis of sex was needed, due to America’s “long and unfortunate history of sex discrimination”

    Christen Lee
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 11, 2015
    The policy in question was one that definitely discriminated against servicewomen and violates the due process clause. The fact that women had to prove their spouse is dependent on them for half of their finances is an irrational double standard, and assumes that women are never the primary income earner in a family. The unnecessary requirement of proof that a servicewomen support 50% of their spouses finances displays that the policy is both unnecessary and discriminatory.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 11, 2015
    The air force law requiring that women proved that they support more than 50% their husband’s financial need is based on nothing but sexism. It is based on the assumption that men are always the breadwinner and any claim that is saying otherwise is more prone be seen as deceptive, and the air force require that they go through extra steps to prove that they are supporting their husband finances more 50%, even though the overwhelming majority of those who receive the extra housing allowance and extra medical benefits are men who do not have to prove that they pay for more than half of their wives expenses; it is just assumed that they do.
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    Kyle Polak
    Kyle Polak Feb 11, 2015
    Newtons 3rd law applies to this case. Every action has an equal or opposite reaction. Any rights extended to women ie maternity leave, etc, could be granted to men on account of the Due Process Law citing Frontiero v Richardson.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 11, 2015
    This case was a clear indication of gender discrimination. There is no justification as to why males did not need proof for dependency for their wives and women did. Because of this rule, Joseph Frontiero did not receive any benefits.

    Because the court reversed their decision, this case was a hallmark for women to receive equal legal support and benefits.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 12, 2014
    The landmark decision helped pave the way for servicewomen to receive equal benefits and for all women to receive equal treatment under the law
    Faith Feinberg t4
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user Feb 12, 2014
    I. Sharron and Joseph Frontiero v. Elliot Richardson, Secretary of Defense
    411 U.S. 677 (1973)

    II. Facts of Case: Sharron Frontiero sought to claim her husband as a dependent seeking medical and housing benefits. Servicewomen had to prove that they paid for more than half of their husbands living costs, while servicemen could claim their wives as dependents automatically. Joseph did not qualify as a dependent because Sharon Frontiero paid less than half of Joseph’s living costs. Sharron sued claiming that the military policy was unconstitutional due to its gender classification.

    III. Legal Question: Is this policy unconstitutional and discriminatory against servicewomen? Is this policy in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment?

    IV: Decision and action: Yes. Reverse decision of the District Court.

    V. Reasoning: The law was discriminatory because the policy was a burdensome procedural process for servicewomen, not servicemen. Men did not have to go through a process to establish their wives dependency. It was also discriminatory because servicemen were granted benefits that the servicewomen were not. Gender discrimination occurred under the military policy. Frontiero’s case was comparable to Reed v. Reed where the court found that the gender based Idaho Statute was unconstitutional.

    Loraine Catania t4
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