Reed v. Reed
404 U.S. 71 (1971), declared a state law unconstitutional on the ground that it discriminated against women, the first such decision in the Court's history. The law in question was one that preferred the father over the mother as executor of a son's estate. Despite nearly two centuries of upholding the constitutionality of such gender-discriminatory laws, the Court said in this case that the father-preference represented “the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the [Fourteenth Amendment's] equal protection clause.”
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