Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her debut as an oral advocate in the Supreme Court in Frontiero v. Richardson. The case involved a challenge to a law that treated men and women serving in the military differently. Specifically, Air Force Lieutenant Sharron Frontiero was denied dependent’s benefits for her husband, a navy veteran who had gone back to college. Had the sex roles been reversed, the wife would have obtained the benefits.
Arguing as an amicus on behalf of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, Ginsburg showed how the law served to perpetuate stereotypes and cement traditional gender roles (woman as homemaker, man as breadwinner), without regard to individual ability, opportunity, or choice.
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