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Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees

Rebellion In The Ranks

Despite the rule against women, two chapters--one in Minneapolis (1974) and the other in St. Paul (1975)--admitted women to full membership. Women became a significant presence in both local chapters, even serving on their boards of directors. As a consequence, the national organization declared all members of those chapters ineligible to run for the organization's state or national offices, to receive its awards, or to have their votes counted at the Jaycees' national conventions. The chapters then learned that the national board would meet to consider a motion to revoke their charters.

Minneapolis' and St. Paul's Jaycees immediately filed discrimination complaints with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, claiming that if they excluded women--as the national board was demanding--they would be in violation of the state's Human Rights Act. The commissioner agreed and ordered a Human Rights Department hearing examiner to conduct an evidentiary hearing.

The Jaycees' national board fired back with a lawsuit against the commissioner and other state representatives in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. If the act were enforced, they claimed, male members would be deprived of their constitutional rights of free speech and association. The court dismissed the suit but left the national Jaycees room to sue again if the Human Rights Department examiner ruled against them.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees - Significance, Rebellion In The Ranks, Never Say Die, The Supreme Court Decides, Exclusive Clubs And Discrimination