Reed is yet another example of how the Equal Protection Clause may be used to strike down state statutes which embody arbitrary classifications that are neither fairly nor substantially related to the object of the statute, and which bring about the invidious discrimination that is repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment. It must stressed that the outcome of Reed is clearly commendable in terms of justice. What is troublesome is the fact that one may contend that the Supreme Court hedged, perhaps avoided, an excellent opportunity in which to expand the constitutional scope of the Equal Protection Clause. Reed afforded the Supreme Court the opportunity to extend the full protection of the Fourteenth Amendment to classifications based solely on sex. The fact that the holding represented the first time the Supreme Court struck down a sex-based classification as violative of the Equal Protection Clause might lead one to conclude that the Reed case has in fact expanded the scope of the Equal Protection Clause by including sex-based discrimination with the previously protected areas of race, national origin, and poverty. However, notwithstanding the specific holding in Reed, the decision provides only minimum support to sexual equality
Murphy, John P. Jr.
"The Reed Case: The Seed for Equal Protection From Sex-Based Discrimination, or Polite Judicial Hedging?,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 5:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol5/iss2/4