Unit 3: Discussion Board
The States v. Virginia’s case involved a lawsuit brought against Virginia and the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for allegedly utilizing a gender-biased admissions policy. Notably, VMI offered undergraduate programs exclusively to male individuals, a system that was considered unconstitutional by the United States. After a lawsuit filed by the United States, Virginia proposed to create a parallel program for women, Virginia’s Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL). An appeal made to the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the petitioner on the premise that the creation of a women’s only academy as a parallel program failed to satisfy the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. I agree with the decision of the majority and Justice Scalia’s dissent on the matter because VMI and VWIL were an indication of an impartial governing by Virginia’s government; however, Virginia’s actions did not cause any actual harm to individuals.
Based on the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, I agree with the decision of the majority in the case. The clause states that governmental bodies “must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances” (“Equal Protection,” n.d.). The VMI, which is a governmental body, failed to meet such provision by offering exclusively male public undergraduate programs. Besides, despite creating a parallel program for women, the state was unable to provide similar prestige to VMIL as VMI, which is an unconstitutional element. Therefore, failure to meet the criteria of equal treatment in similar circumstances acts as the basis for agreeing with the ruling of the majority.
However, I also agree with Justice Scalia’s dissent because no harm was caused to any individual in the case. Notably, the Equal Protection analysis provides that based on the type of discrimination, the petitioner or plaintiff needs to prove that the action of the governing body resulted in actual harm to the individual (“Equal Protection,” n.d.). In this scenario, no substantial evidence was provided as an indication of harm caused because the state of Virginia eventually offered comparable programs to male and female candidates despite the institutions lacking similar prestige.
“Equal protection” (N.d.). Legal Information Institute. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/equal_protection