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Schlesinger v. Ballard

Significance, Lieutenant Ballard Receives A Mandatory Discharge, Frontiero And Reed Offer A Guide--and A Contrast


James R. Schlesinger, U.S. Secretary of Defense


Robert C. Ballard

Appellant's Claim

That a rule establishing different guidelines regarding mandatory discharge for male and female officers in the U.S. Navy did not constitute a violation of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Harriet S. Shapiro

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Charles R. Khoury, Jr.

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Potter Stewart (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

15 January 1975


That the differing classifications regarding rules for discharge and promotion of males and females are based in rationality; and that in exercising its broad constitutional mandate in making these classifications, Congress did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Related Cases

  • Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971).
  • Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973).
  • Kahn v. Shevin, 416 U.S. 351 (1974).
  • Weinberger v. Weisenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975).
  • Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976).
  • Rostker v. Goldberg, 448 U.S. 1306 (1980).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan and Elder Witt. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1997.
  • Levy, Leonard W., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
  • Witt, Elder. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the Supreme Court, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1990.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980