Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen
Frontiero v. Richardson
The Appellant, a lieutenant in the United States Air Force, sought housing, medical and dental benefits for her husband. The Appellant did so on the basis that her husband was a dependent based on a statute that states dependents of service personnel are eligible for such benefits. The Appellant’s application was denied because she failed to show her husband was dependent on her for more than one-half of his support. The Appellant filed suite arguing that the statute unreasonably discriminated on the basis of gender in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution). The Appellant asserted the discriminatory impact was twofold. First, as a procedural matter, a female member is required to demonstrate her spouse’s dependency, while a male member is not required to demonstrate his spouse’s dependency. Second, as a substantive matter, a male member who does not provide more than one-half of his wife’s support receives be nefits, while a similarly situated female member is denied such benefits. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) concluded that classifications based on sex are inherently suspect and must be subjected to strict judicial scrutiny.
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