Welcome to the new version of the Weekend Edition, we took the holiday weekend off thanks to a Black Friday shopping hangover. Let’s get to it.
Craig v. Boren, US Supreme Court
Of course, you do! In 1976 the United States Supreme Court heard an oral argument that dealt with a legal challenge related to an Oklahoma law that allowed women who were 18 years or older to buy beer but prohibited men of the same age from purchasing beer until they were 21 years old. This sex discrimination issue was a smart play disguised to open the door for some of the ideas that built the Equal Rights Amendment which had failed to pass several times in the early 70s.
At the time, a new women’s movement had taken shape which would have passed a new constitutional amendment that would have required equality between the sexes. Unfortunately, the amendment failed, several times, to get the necessary number of states to support its passage.
Enter Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aka, the Notorious RBG.
RBG was the head of the New York ACLU at the time and try as she might to take portions of the ERA and get them effectuated through the courts, she knew that using female plaintiffs would be too much of an obvious play. What she needed, was a reframing of the issue.
OSU, Frat Life, and Beer
The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Oklahoma State University (OSU) had a number of members who, you might say, enjoyed adult beverages. The problem, however, was at the time Oklahoma’s laws would not allow men to buy beer until they were 21, but women could buy beer at 18. So the fraternity members had to have their girlfriends buy beer for them. Not only was this a problem for the fraternity members, but the business owners in Stillwater had a difficult time enforcing the law based on sex.
The most popular spot to buy beer in Stillwater at the time was the Honk and Holler, now known as The Barn located on the Strip. All of the Lambda Chi Alpha members and the owner of the Honk and Holler brought suit against the State of Oklahoma claiming the beer law discriminated against men.
The podcast goes into the interplay between RBG and a local Tulsa attorney who argued the case at the Supreme Court as well as some of the planning and strategy required to bring the case to maturity. We hope you enjoy this installation of the Weekend Edition. You can listen below.