PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATOR MA v. FEENEY
A Massachusetts law gave hiring preference to honorably discharged veterans applying for state civil service positions. Feeney, a woman who scored high on certain competitive civil service examinations, was ranked below male veterans who had lower scores.
Did the law discriminate against women and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
Legal provision: Equal Protection
No. The Court held that the law was enacted to serve "legitimate and worthy purposes" and not to discriminate on the basis of sex. Even though few women benefitted from the scheme, Justice Stewart argued that "veteran status is not uniquely male." Furthermore, the law placed many men who were not veterans at a disadvantage as well. The distinction in the law was clearly between veterans and nonveterans, not between men and women.