Goesaert v. Cleary 335 U.S. 464 (1948)

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GOESAERT v. CLEARY 335 U.S. 464 (1948)

Goesaert typified the Court's sex discrimination decisions in the century between bradwell v. illinois (1873) and the 1970s. Michigan denied a woman a bartender's license unless she were "the wife or daughter of the male owner" of a licensed establishment. The Supreme Court, 6–3, rejected an equal protection attack on this limitation. For the majority, Justice felix frankfurter applied a rational basis standard of review: the legislature might rationally have believed that the presence of a barmaid's husband or father would help avoid "moral or social problems." Thus the Court could not "give ear to the suggestion that the real impulse behind this legislation was the unchivalrous desire of male bartenders to try to monopolize the calling."

Justice wiley b. rutledge, for the dissenters, argued that the law failed to serve these protective ends, because unrelated, nonowner males might be present in some cases, and related male owners might be absent.

Kenneth L. Karst

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Goesaert v. Cleary 335 U.S. 464 (1948)

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