PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATOR MA v. FEENEY

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
78-233
Appellee 
Feeney
Appellant 
Personnel Administrator MA
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

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.

Question 

Did the law discriminate against women and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for Personnel Administrator MA, 2 vote(s) against
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.

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PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATOR MA v. FEENEY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 24 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1978/1978_78_233/>.
PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATOR MA v. FEENEY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1978/1978_78_233/ (last visited October 24, 2014).
"PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATOR MA v. FEENEY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 24, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1978/1978_78_233/.