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Reed v. Reed - Significance, Win Some, Lose Some, Equal Protection, Further Readings

appellant justices marshall decision


Sally Reed


Cecil Reed

Appellant's Claim

That Sally Reed's constitutional rights were violated by Idaho's law favoring the appointment of a man over a similarly situated woman to act as administrator of an estate.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

Allen R. Derr, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

Charles S. Stout, Myron E. Anderson

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger (writing for the Court), William O. Douglas, John Marshall Harlan II, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

22 November 1971


That Idaho's law was "based solely on a discrimination prohibited by and therefore violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

Related Cases

  • United States v. Anthony, 24 F.Cas. 829 (1873).
  • Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875).
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about 9 years ago

I had the incredible opportunity to hear Allan Derr speak last week. He said that the estate was worth less than $500. Sally had opened a bank account for her son which had $495 in it at the time of her son "Skip's" death. She went to pick up the money and settle the estate. The bank refused to let her have the money because she wasn't male. So her ex-husband would be allowed to settle the estate. Sally went to 16 lawyers in Idaho trying to find one that would take her case. Finally, she happened on Allen Derr after reading through the phonebook. Derr represented Sally all the way to the Supreme Court where of course she won by unanimous vote that a woman had equal legal standing as a man. After Sally claimed the estate, she split it evenly with Cecil. It wasn't the money; it was the principle. She said to Derr that she was tired of people kicking her around. Incidentally, Allen Derr is still practicing law in Boise, Idaho.

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over 9 years ago

For anyone who is still confused, Sally Reed obtained the estate for the Supreme Court reversed the state court's original decision.

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about 11 years ago

who got the estate, i know that sally won the case but did cecil still keep estate