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Held : The policy of petitioner Mississippi University for Women MUWa state-supported university which has from its inception limited its enrollment to women, of denying otherwise qualified males such as respondent the right to enroll for credit in its School of Nursing violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
FeenstraU. FeeneyU. The burden is met only by showing at least that the classification serves "important governmental objectives and that the discriminatory means employed" are "substantially related to the achievement of those objectives. Druggists Mutual Insurance Co. The test must be applied free of fixed notions concerning the roles and abilities of males and females.
A State can evoke a compensatory purpose to justify an otherwise discriminatory classification only if members of the gender benefited by the classification actually suffer a disadvantage related to the classification. Rather than compensating for discriminatory barriers faced by women, MUW's policy tends to perpetuate the stereotyped view of nursing as an exclusively woman's job.
Moreover, the State has not Ladies seeking sex Ruth Mississippi that the gender-based classification is substantially and directly related to its proposed compensatory objective. To the contrary, MUW's policy of permitting men to attend classes as auditors fatally undermines its claim that women, at least those in the School of Nursing, are adversely affected by the presence of men. Thus, the State has fallen far short of establishing the "exceedingly persuasive justification" needed to sustain the gender-based classification.
Rather, Congress apparently intended, at most, to create an exemption from Title IX's requirements. MorganU. This case presents the narrow issue of whether a state statute that excludes males from enrolling in a state-supported professional nursing school violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Laws, Ch. The school, known today as Mississippi University for Women MUWhas from its inception limited its enrollment to women.
Three years later, the school instituted a 4-year baccalaureate program in nursing and today also offers a graduate program.
The School of Nursing has its own faculty and administrative officers and establishes its own criteria for admission. Respondent, Joe Hogan, is a registered nurse but does not hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Sincehe has worked as a nursing supervisor in a medical center in Columbus, the city in which MUW is located.
School officials informed him that he could audit the courses in which he was interested, but could not enroll for credit. Hogan sought injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as compensatory damages. Following a hearing, the District Court denied preliminary injunctive relief.
The court concluded that maintenance of MUW as a Ladies seeking sex Ruth Mississippi school bears a rational relationship to the State's legitimate interest "in providing the greatest practical range of educational opportunities for its female student population. Furthermore, the court stated, the admissions policy is not arbitrary because providing single-sex schools is consistent with a respected, though by no means universally accepted, educational theory that single-sex education affords unique benefits to students.
Stating that the case presented no issue of fact, the court informed Hogan that it would enter summary judgment dismissing his claim unless he tendered a factual issue. When Hogan offered no further evidence, the District Court entered summary judgment in favor of the State. Record The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed, holding that, because the admissions policy discriminates on the basis of gender, the District Court improperly used a "rational relationship" test to judge the constitutionality of the policy. Instead, the Court of Appeals stated, the proper test is whether the State has carried the heavier burden of showing that the gender-based classification is substantially related to an important governmental objective.
Recognizing that the State has a ificant interest in providing educational opportunities for all its citizens, the court then found that the State had failed to show that providing a unique educational opportunity for females, but not for males, bears a substantial relationship to that interest. Holding that the policy excluding Hogan because of his sex denies him equal protection of the laws, the court vacated the summary judgment entered against Hogan as to his claim for monetary damages, and remanded for entry of a declaratory judgment in conformity with its opinion and for further appropriate proceedings.
We granted certiorari, U. We begin our analysis aided by several firmly established principles. Because the challenged policy expressly discriminates among applicants on the basis of gender, it is subject to scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Reed v. ReedU. That this statutory policy discriminates against males rather than against females does not exempt it from scrutiny or reduce the standard of review. Mo- hammed, U. OrrU. Our decisions also establish that the party seeking to uphold a statute that classifies individuals on the basis of their gender must carry the burden of showing an "exceedingly persuasive justification" for the classification.
Druggists Mutual Ins. Although the test for determining the validity of a gender-based classification is straightforward, it must be applied free of fixed notions Ladies seeking sex Ruth Mississippi the roles and abilities of males and females. Care must be taken in ascertaining whether the statutory objective itself reflects archaic and stereotypic notions. Thus, if the statutory objective is to exclude or "protect" members of one gender because they are pd to suffer from an inherent handicap or to be innately inferior, the objective itself is illegitimate.
See Frontiero v. RichardsonU. If the State's objective is legitimate and important, we next determine whether the requisite direct, substantial relationship between objective and means is present. The purpose of requiring that close relationship is to assure that the validity of a classification is determined through reasoned analysis rather than through the mechanical application of traditional, often inaccurate, assumptions about the proper roles of men and women.
BorenU. Applying this framework, we now analyze the arguments advanced by the State to justify its refusal to allow males to enroll for credit in MUW's School of Nursing. The State's primary justification for maintaining the single-sex admissions policy of MUW's School of Nursing is that it compensates for discrimination against women and, therefore, constitutes educational affirmative action. Brief for Petitioners 8. In limited circumstances, a gender-based classification favoring one sex can be justified if it intentionally and directly assists members of the sex that is disproportionately burdened.
See Schlesinger v. BallardU. However, we consistently have emphasized that "the mere recitation of a benign, compensatory purpose is not an automatic shield which protects against any inquiry into the actual purposes underlying a statutory scheme. WiesenfeldU. The same searching analysis must be made, regardless of whether the State's objective is to eliminate family controversy, Reed v. It is readily apparent that a State can evoke a compensatory purpose to justify an otherwise discriminatory classification only if members of the gender benefited by the classification actually suffer a disadvantage related to the classification.
We considered such a situation in Califano v. WebsterU. Although the effect of the classification was to allow women higher monthly benefits than were available to men with the same earning history, we upheld the statutory scheme, noting that it took into that women "as such have been unfairly hindered from earning as much as men" and "work[ed] directly to remedy" the resulting economic disparity. A similar pattern of discrimination against women influenced our decision in Schlesinger v. Ballard, supra. There, we considered a federal statute that granted female Naval officers a year tenure of commissioned service before mandatory discharge, but accorded male officers only a 9-year tenure.
We recognized that, because women were barred from combat duty, they had had fewer opportunities for promotion than had their male counterparts. By allowing women an additional four years to reach a particular rank before subjecting them to mandatory discharge, the statute directly compensated for other statutory barriers to advancement.
In sharp contrast, Mississippi has made no showing that women lacked opportunities to obtain training in the field of nursing or to attain positions of leadership in that field when the MUW School of Nursing opened its door or that women currently Ladies seeking sex Ruth Mississippi deprived of such opportunities. In fact, inthe year before the School of Nursing's first class enrolled, women earned 94 percent of the nursing baccalaureate degrees conferred in Mississippi and That year was not an aberration; one decade earlier, women had earned all the nursing degrees conferred in Mississippi and As one would expect, the labor force reflects the same predominance of women in nursing.
When MUW's School of Nursing began operation, nearly 98 percent of all employed registered nurses were female. Rather than compensate for discriminatory barriers faced by women, MUW's policy of excluding males from admission to the School of Nursing tends to perpetuate the stereotyped view of nursing as an exclusively woman's job. See Stanton v. StantonU. Thus, we conclude that, although the State recited a "benign, compensatory purpose," it failed to establish that the alleged objective is the actual purpose underlying the discriminatory classification.
The policy is invalid also because it fails the second part of the equal protection test, for the State has made no showing that the gender-based classification is substantially and directly related to its proposed compensatory objective. MUW permits men who audit to participate fully in classes. Additionally, both men and women take part in continuing education courses offered by the School of Nursing, in which regular nursing students also can enroll.
Deposition of Dr. Barrar The uncontroverted record reveals that admitting men to nursing classes does not affect teaching style, Deposition of Nancy L. Herban 4, that the presence of men in the classroom would not affect the performance of the female nursing students, Tr. Barrarand that men in coeducational nursing schools do not dominate the classroom. Deposition of Nancy Herban 6. In sum, the record in this case is flatly inconsistent with the claim that excluding men from the School of Nursing is necessary to reach any of MUW's educational goals.
Thus, considering both the asserted interest and the relationship between the interest and the methods used by the State, we conclude that the State has fallen far short of establishing the "exceedingly persuasive justification" needed to sustain the gender-based classification. In an additional attempt to justify its exclusion of men from MUW's School of Nursing, the State contends that MUW is the direct beneficiary "of specific congressional legislation which, on its face, permits the institution to exist as it has in the past. See Ladies seeking sex Ruth Mississippi.
The argument requires little comment. Even if Congress envisioned a constitutional exemption, the State's argument would fail. Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment gives Congress broad power indeed to enforce the command of the Amendment and "to secure to all persons the enjoyment of perfect equality of civil rights and the equal protection of the laws against State denial or invasion.
Although we give deference to congressional decisions and classifications, neither Congress nor a State can validate a law that denies the rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e. GoldfarbU. RhodesU. Marbury v. Madison1 Cranch [2 L. HarrisU. I write separately, however, to emphasize that the Court's holding today is limited to the context of a professional nursing school.
Anteatn. Since the Court's opinion relies heavily on its finding that women have traditionally dominated the nursing profession, see anteatit suggests that a State might well be justified in maintaining, for example, the option of an all-women's business school or liberal arts program. Unless Mississippi University for Women wished to preserve a historical anachronism, one only states the obvious when he observes that the University long ago should have replaced its original statement of purpose and brought its corporate papers into the 20th century. It failed to do so and, perhaps in partial consequence, finds itself in this litigation, with the Court's opinion, anteatand n.
Despite that failure, times have changed in the intervening 98 years. What was once an "Institute and College" is now a genuine university, with a 2-year School of Nursing established 11 years ago and then expanded to a 4-year baccalaureate program in But respondent Hogan "wants in" at this particular location in his home city of Columbus. It is not enough that his State of Mississippi offers baccalaureate programs in nursing open to males at Jackson Ladies seeking sex Ruth Mississippi at Hattiesburg.
Mississippi thus has not closed the doors of its educational system to males like Hogan. Assuming that he is qualified—and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt his qualifications—those doors are open and his maleness alone does not prevent his gaining the additional education he professes to seek. I have come to suspect that it is easy to go too far with rigid rules in this area of claimed sex discrimination, and to lose—indeed destroy—values that mean much to some people by forbidding the State to offer them a choice while not depriving others of an alternative choice.
While the Court purports to write narrowly, declaring that it does not decide the same issue with respect to "separate but equal" undergraduate institutions for females and males, anteatn. That ruling, it seems to me, places in constitutional jeopardy any state-supported educational institution that confines its student body in any area to members of one sex, even though the State elsewhere provides an equivalent program to the complaining applicant.
I hope that we do not lose all values that some think are worthwhile and are not based on differences of race or religion and relegate ourselves to needless conformity.
The Court's opinion bows deeply to conformity.Ladies seeking sex Ruth Mississippi
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