Skip to main content

Court Establishes ‘Intermediate Review’ For Sex Discrimination


In Craig v. Boren, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down an Oklahoma law that allowed women, ages 18-20, to drink beer but denied young men the same right. The Court finds that discrimination based on sex is entitled to an “intermediate level of scrutiny” by the Court. This means that states are not free to discriminate based on sex. Rather, the Court holds, to withstand constitutional challenge, divisions based on sex must “serve important governmental objectives and must be substantially related to achievement of those objectives.” Women were still not given the same level of protection from discrimination as those affected by race discrimination, but the decision did provide meaningful protection.