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FC: United States v. Virginia (1996) By: Adam Stein and Cary Wimbish

1: Table of Contents | * Background Information * District Court * Court of Appeals * Supreme Court * Aftermath

2: Background Information | Virginia Military Institute (VMI) was founded in 1839 as an all-male public institute. VMI is the oldest state-supported military college in the country and has been around for more than one hundred and sixty years.

4: Background Information | The lawsuit began in conjunction with an academy known as The Citadel. A female student named Shannon Faulkner applied to The Citadel in 1993 and was initially accepted. Once the institution learned that it was a female they revoked her acceptance. Women believed they deserved the same educational and social opportunities offered by VMI.The case was centered around a suit that was on the grounds of equal protection.The case was initially upheld in favor of VMI but later the Court of Appeals overturned the decision leading to the Supreme Court case.

5: The case took five months to decide and its decision not only impacted VMI, but the Citadel as well.

6: Background Information | Governor Wilder took the issue of gender discrimination to VMI's Board of Visitors to see if they would fight the order from the U.S. government. The Board voted to fight the order to admit women in their school. This caused VMI to be sued by the Department of Justice for violating the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.Virginia's female attorney general, Mary Sue Terry helped represent VMI in protecting their all- male tradition. In February 5, 1990 VMI filed two lawsuits of their own.

7: VMI argued that is was necessary part of the state's diverse system of higher education. In March 1990, the U.S. government sued Virginia and VMI in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia due to an unidentified woman who had been refused from the institute. | The Beginning

8: The lawsuit said that VMI violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1991 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the District Court's decision and ruled in favor of VMI's admission policy two to one. | United States Court of Appeals

9: Judge Kiser cited the Supreme Court's 1982 case of Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan. The Courts decision ruled that any distinction of the individuals on the basis of gender had to serve important government goals. | In 1992, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CIrcuit heard the government's appeal of Kiser's ruling. The government stated that the institution did not promote diversity. The court ruled that Virginia could not open a male only public college without some type of alternative program. | The court gave VMI three choices: 1. admit women 2. become a private institution 3. offer a similar program for women.

10: VMI asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal. The Supreme Court refused in May 1993. Then VMI decided to create a similar program called the Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership (VWIL) held at Mary Baldwin College. | In 1995, the United States Court of Appeals accepted the program 2 to 1, but the United States government appealed. The Department of Justice claimed that Virginia was denying women equal protection under the law and argued that the appeals court relied on "harmful gender stereotypes". The decision was reversed and the case was sent the the Supreme Court.

11: Supreme Court | On January 17, 1996, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the VMI admission policy. This is also the day the case was named United States v. Virginia.

12: Supreme Court | Plaintiff's Argument: 1. The admission policy violated equal protection under the law 2. Schools who receive state or federal funds cannot discriminate against applicants based on gender 3. A worthy alternative program for women could not be developed at VMI 4. Each military academy already admitted women 5. The admission policy promoted gender stereotypes and discrimination

13: Defendant's Argument: 1. The admittance of women would destroy the current education system at VMI and distract male cadets 2. VMI offered diversity to Virginia education by being one of the few all male schools 3. The VWIL program at Mary Baldwin College was a valid alternative to VMI's program 4. Women had ample opportunities for military training 5. Admitting women denies the physical and emotional differences between women

14: Supreme Court | VMI put up much resistance to allowing women on campus. One of the major roadblocks for VMI's case was that the four military branch academies had already admitted women. VMI may have had an easier time presenting their case if the military academies had not already admitted women.Much controversy occurred in the days leading up to the case decision. VMI's goal is to treat every cadet in the same manner. However, with gender differences VMI would be forced to lower its physical standards and change its policy of constant discipline. VMI feared these changes would damage the very roots that made VMI such a unique educational experience.

16: The Supreme Court's decision for United States v. Virginia came on June 26, 1996. The Court decided that the admission policy at VMI discriminated against women and violated equal protection. VMI's cultural landscape was changed forever and women were now allowed to roam the barracks. The ruling also affected The Citadel. | Supreme Court

17: Due to the fact that VMI was a public school, VMI's chances of maintaining an all male policy were severely damaged. The decision was aided by a previous Supreme Court case known as Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan. The ruling of that case forbade gender discrimination in schools that receive government funding.

18: Many of the Justices who heard United States v. Virginia were also present during Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan. Of all the Justices who heard the case, only Justice Antonin Scalia disagreed. He believed that because VMI's admission policy was changed, VMI was ruined. | Supreme Court

19: The Supreme Court's decision left many unanswered questions. Much controversy and debate followed the ruling. VMI now had to decide where to house the women, how to offer scholarships, and how to offer athletic programs that were groomed for men. After a nine to eight vote by the VMI Board of Visitors, VMI elected to admit women for the first time in the school's 157 year history beginning the fall semester of 1997. Many of the first women to attend VMI did not graduate. A few dropped out claiming the physical and emotional aspects were too harsh. The first women at VMI were treated very harshly by their male counterparts because the males still believed that women did not belong there.

20: The Supreme Court decision impacted mainly VMI and the Citadel. Although the case mainly concerned the admission policy at VMI, The Citadel was actually the first of the two to accept women. Women faced much adversity when they arrived. The male cadets treated them extremely harsh and many of the first female cadets did not finish as a result. The Citadel had many of the male cadets charged with sexual harassment charges as well. United States District Court Judge C. Weston Houck became involved in ensuring that the harsh treatment toward women was stopped. However, the women decided they weren't welcome at the school and decided to leave anyway. Eleven cadets were charged disciplinary action for taking part in the harassment of the female cadets. | Aftermath

21: 1. Nancy Mace was the first female to graduate the Citadel in 1999. 2. VMI admitted women to post in August of 1997. 3. 31 women joined the ranks at VMI the first year. 4. 70 media organizations took part in documenting the female cadets during their first year. 5. Both VMI and The Citadel stated it would take time to fully integrate women due to the long standing toughness policies that applied to men 6. Both schools policies on discipline and privacy underwent mass reform | Aftermath

22: Citations | Images: page ...Pg.1 and 3 .........Pg.11

23: Images: ....Pg.15 ....Pg.18 Sources: Long, Barbara. United States v. Viginia Virginia Military Institute Accepts Women. Berkeley Heights: Enslow, 2000. Print. Landmark Supreme Court Cases. "THE SUPREME COURT;Excerpts From High Court's Ruling Against the Male-Only Policy of V.M.I." New York Times 27 June 1996: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. . | Citations

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