Goesaert v. Cleary, No. 49

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation93 L.Ed. 163,69 S.Ct. 198,335 U.S. 464
PartiesGOESAERT et al. v. CLEARY et al
Docket NumberNo. 49
Decision Date20 December 1948

335 U.S. 464
69 S.Ct. 198
93 L.Ed. 163
GOESAERT et al.

v.

CLEARY et al.

No. 49.
Argued Nov. 19, 1948.
Decided Dec. 20, 1948.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Anne R. Davidow, of Detroit, Mich., for appellant.

Mr. Edmund E. Shepherd, of Lansing, Mich., for appellees.

Page 465

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

As part of the Michigan system for controlling the sale of liquor, bartenders are required to be licensed in all cities having a population of 50,000, or more, but no female may be so licensed unless she be 'the wife or daughter of the male owner' of a licensed liquor establishment. Section 19a of Act 133 of the Public Acts of Michigan 1945, Mich.Stat.Ann. § 18,990(1), Cum.Supp.1947. The case is here on direct appeal from an order of the District Court of three judges, convened under § 266 of the old Judicial Code, now 28 U.S.C. § 2284, 28 U.S.C.A. § 2284, denying an injunction to restrain the enforcement of the Michigan law. The claim, denied below, one judge dissenting, 74 F.Supp. 735, and renewed here, is that Michigan cannot forbid females generally from being barmaids and at the same time make an exception in favor of the wives and daughters of the owners of liquor establishments. Beguiling as the subject is, it need not detain us long. To ask whether or not the Equal Protection of the Laws Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment barred Michigan from making the classification the State has made between wives and daughters of owners of liquor places and wives and daughters of non-owners, is one of those rare instances where to state the question is in effect to answer it.

We are, to be sure, dealing with a historic calling. We meet the alewife, sprightly and ribald, in Shakespeare, but centuries before him she played a role in the social life of England. See, e.g., Jusserand, English Wayfaring Life, 133, 134, 136-37 (1889). The Fourteenth Amendment did not tear history up by the roots, and the regulation of the liquor traffic is one of the oldest and most untrammeled of legislative powers. Michigan could, beyond question, forbid all women from working behind a bar. This is so despite the vast changes

Page 466

in the social and legal position of women. The fact that women may now have achieved the virtues that men have long claimed as their prerogatives and now indulge in vices that men have long practiced, does not preclude the States from drawing a sharp line between the sexes, certainly, in such matters as the regulation of the liquor traffic. See the Twenty-First Amendment and Carter v. Virginia, 321 U.S. 131, 64 S.Ct. 464, 88 L.Ed. 605. The Constitution does not require legislatures to reflect sociological insight, or shifting social standards, any more than it requires them to keep abreast of the latest scientific standards.

While Michigan may deny to all women opportunities for bartending, Michigan cannot play favorities among women without rhyme or reasons. The Constitution in enjoining the equal protection of the laws upon States precludes irrational discrimination as between persons or groups of persons in the incidence of a law. But the Constitution does not requ re situations 'which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same.' Tigner v. State of Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147, 60 S.Ct. 879, 882, 84 L.Ed. 1124, 130 A.L.R. 1321. Since bartending by women may, in the allowable legislative judgment, give rise to moral and social problems against which it may devise preventive...

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225 practice notes
  • Haviland v. Butz, No. 74-1322
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 23, 1976
    ...1883-1884 (1947); Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 370, 47 S.Ct. 641, 646, 71 L.Ed. 1095, 1103-1104 (1927). 56 Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 467, 69 S.Ct. 198, 200, 93 L.Ed. 163, 166 (1948), quoting Roschen v. Ward, 279 U.S. 337, 339, 49 S.Ct. 336, 73 L.Ed. 722, 728-729 57 Two Guys ......
  • Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island, Inc. v. Israel, Civ. A. No. 74-139.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • July 23, 1974
    ...keepers" to keep women off the premises was upheld as a reasonable exercise of the State's police power; that in Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 69 S.Ct. 198, 93 L.Ed.2d 163 (1948) a Michigan statute which prohibited women from employment as bartenders except in certain exceptional situat......
  • McClellan v. Shapiro, Civ. No. 13267.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • April 16, 1970
    ...as though they were the same.' Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147 60 S.Ct. 879, 882, 84 L.Ed. 1124, 130 A.L.R. 1321." Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 466, 69 S.Ct. 198, 199-200, 93 L. Ed. 163 It has been noted that the traditional test of equal protection is whether the classification at ......
  • Wilczynski v. Harder, Civ. No. 13382.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • February 16, 1971
    ...can reasonably be imputed to it. Cf. Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 617, 80 S.Ct. 1367, 4 L.Ed. 2d 1435 (1960); Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 466-467, 69 S.Ct. 198, 93 L.Ed. 163 (1948). From that perspective, it is apparent that a rational basis does exist for the exemptions of "real......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
222 cases
  • Haviland v. Butz, No. 74-1322
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 23, 1976
    ...1883-1884 (1947); Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 370, 47 S.Ct. 641, 646, 71 L.Ed. 1095, 1103-1104 (1927). 56 Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 467, 69 S.Ct. 198, 200, 93 L.Ed. 163, 166 (1948), quoting Roschen v. Ward, 279 U.S. 337, 339, 49 S.Ct. 336, 73 L.Ed. 722, 728-729 57 Two Guys ......
  • Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island, Inc. v. Israel, Civ. A. No. 74-139.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • July 23, 1974
    ...keepers" to keep women off the premises was upheld as a reasonable exercise of the State's police power; that in Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 69 S.Ct. 198, 93 L.Ed.2d 163 (1948) a Michigan statute which prohibited women from employment as bartenders except in certain exceptional situat......
  • McClellan v. Shapiro, Civ. No. 13267.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • April 16, 1970
    ...as though they were the same.' Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147 60 S.Ct. 879, 882, 84 L.Ed. 1124, 130 A.L.R. 1321." Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 466, 69 S.Ct. 198, 199-200, 93 L. Ed. 163 It has been noted that the traditional test of equal protection is whether the classification at ......
  • Wilczynski v. Harder, Civ. No. 13382.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • February 16, 1971
    ...can reasonably be imputed to it. Cf. Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 617, 80 S.Ct. 1367, 4 L.Ed. 2d 1435 (1960); Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 466-467, 69 S.Ct. 198, 93 L.Ed. 163 (1948). From that perspective, it is apparent that a rational basis does exist for the exemptions of "real......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • Women's Rights and the Limits of Constitutional Doctrine
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 44-4, December 1991
    • December 1, 1991
    ...1975. 417 U. S. 484.General Electric v. Gilbert. 1976. 429 U.S. 125. Ginsberg v. New York. 1968. 390 U.S. 629.Goesaert v. Cleary. 1948. 335 U.S. 464.Gormillion v. Lightfoot. 1960. 364 U.S. 339.Grits v. Duke Power Company. 1971. 401 U.S. 424.Grove City College v. Bell 1984. 465. U.S. 555. He......
  • Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The editors of the Case Western Reserve Law Review respectfully dedicate this issue to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
    • United States
    • Case Western Reserve Law Review Vol. 71 Nbr. 1, September 2020
    • September 22, 2020
    ...physical frailty and the potential harm to their reproductive capacity arising from long hours on the job). (7.) Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464, 465 (8.) Hoyt v. Florida, 368 U.S. 57, 62 (1961). (9.) 404 U.S. 71 (1971). (10.) See Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Speaking in a Judicial Voice, 67 N.Y.U......
  • The Supreme Court and Sex Discrimination: the Role of the Solicitor General
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 41-3, September 1988
    • September 1, 1988
    ...U.S. 366. 4 Radice v. New York, 264 U.S. 292 at 294. Muller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412.5 Adkins v. Children’s Hospital, 261 U.S. 525 (1923).6 335 U.S. 464 Hoyt v. Florida, 368 U.S. 57.8 3G8 U.S. 57, 62. 9 404 U.S. 71 (1971). 555 classifications are viewed under a &dquo;middle level scrutiny&dq......

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