The Supreme Court in Rostker v. Goldberg upheld a Congressional decision which excluded women from registration for service in the Armed Forces of the United States. Although the case was brought based upon equal protection grounds, the majority took a separation of powers stance and based its decision upon the fact that the Court has traditionally granted deference to the decisions of Congress in the area of military affairs. The minority opinions disagreed with the majority's analysis and claimed that the central issue in Rostker was not military in nature, but was that Congress' plan to register males only, promoted gender based discrimination. In this unique presentation, both sides of the Rostker case are analyzed and argued by two authors. One author argues that even though Rostker does involve elements of gender based discrimination, the decisions of Congress in the area of military affairs warrant deference by the Court. The other argues that the evolution of the equal protection standards, and the precedents arising therefrom, should have dictated the outcome in Rostker. In addition, each author discusses the possible impact Rostker will have on future Court decisions as well as the women's movement generally. The decision as to which analysis is correct is left to the reader.
Gilbert L. Purcell and Janet Rappaport
Rostker v. Goldberg: A Step Backward in Equal Protection, or a Justifiable Affirmation of Congressional Power?,
9 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol9/iss2/4