Brief Fact Summary. The Social Security old-age insurance benefits are calculated differently for men and women, with the result that women’s benefits are skewed slightly toward their later (higher earning) years, qualifying women for slightly greater benefits.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The government may enact remedial legislation to benefit women in areas where they have been traditionally discriminated against.
Issue. Is this disparity of methods between sexes proper under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution)?
Held. No. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) reiterates the holding of Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976), saying that a classification based on gender must serve an important government interest and be substantially related to achieving that interest. Citing the historical wage gap between men and women, the Supreme Court views that allowing women to eliminate three low-wage years from their calculation, remedies some part of this discrimination.
The mere recitation of a benign, compensatory purpose is not an automatic shield which protects against any inquiry into the actual purposes underlying a statutory scheme.View Full Point of Law