Statutes allow a male member of the armed forces to claim his wife as a dependent without regard to whether she is in fact dependent upon him for any part of her support.
A female member of the armed forces, on the other hand, may not claim her husband as a dependent unless he is in fact dependent upon her for over one-half of his support.
Appellant wished to claim her husband as a dependent and would have been able to if she were male. Claims this violates Equal Protection.
SCOTUS found statutes unconstitutional.
What is the appropriate judicial test for classifications based upon sex?
Classifications based upon sex should be subject to strict judicial scrutiny.
Sex discrimination is comparable to race discrimination. Thus, strict scrutiny should be the test.
America has had a long and unfortunate history of sex discrimination.
The position of women for much of American history is comparable to that of blacks under the pre-Civil War slave codes.
The sex characteristic is highly visible; thus, it is easy to subject women to discrimination in education, employment, and politics.
Sex, like race, is immutable.
The imposition of special disabilities upon the members 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.
The government concedes that the differential treatment serves no purpose other than mere administrative convenience.
No concrete evidence was given that this convenience saves the government any money.
Although efficient administration of government programs is not without some importance, the Constitution recognizes higher values that speed and efficiency.
This case could have been decided through Reed.
No need to expand the test to strict scrutiny for this case; should be reserved for another case.