Trimble v. Gordon
A Small But Contentious Estate, Discrimination Based On Legitimacy?, Impact, Heirs And Inheritance Laws
Deta Mona Trimble, et al.
Sherman Gordon, et al.
That Chapter 12 of the Illinois State Probate Act, which allowed illegitimate children to inherit property only from their mother in the event of their parents' death without a will, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Chief Lawyer for Appellants
James D. Well
Chief Lawyer for Appellees
Miles N. Beermann
Justices for the Court
William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White
Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Potter Stewart, William H. Rehnquist
Date of Decision
26 April 1977
Reversed the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court and ruled Chapter 12 of the Illinois State Probate Act unconstitutional.
The ruling marked a reversal of the Court's view of the right of illegitimate children to inherit, which had been set forth in Labine v. Vincent (1971). While Trimble v. Gordon seemed to guarantee equal protection for illegitimate children with regard to inheritance, this position was once again altered by the Court's judgement in Lalli v. Lalli, (1978).
- Labine v. Vincent, 401 U.S. 532 (1971).
- In re Estate of Karas, 61 Illinois 2d 40, 329 N.E. 2d 234 (1975).
- Mathews v. Lucas, 427 U.S. 495 (1976).
- Lalli v. Lalli, 439 U.S. 259 (1978).
West's Encyclopedia of American Law. St. Paul, MN: West Group, 1998.
- Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1993.
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