Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan
458 U.S. 718 (1982)

  • MUW was a publicly-funded college that admitted only females. Hogan, a male nursing student, applied and was rejected solely because of his gender.
  • Hogan sued, claiming that the gender discrimination was an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
    • Mississippi argued that MUW was designed to make up for discrimination and was therefore a form of gender affirmative action.
    • Mississippi argued that single-sex classes provided benefits that co-ed classes did not have.
  • The US Supreme Court found MUW’s single-sex policy to be unconstitutional.
    • The US Supreme Court found that the proper standard of review for cases of gender discrimination is Intermediate Scrutiny.
      • The Court went on to say that Intermediate Scrutiny requires that there be an exceedingly persuasive justification for the classification.
    • The Court found that Mississippi did not show any evidence that women were being excluded from other Mississippi colleges, and therefore there was no need to provide them with affirmative action alternatives.
    • The Court found that MUW allowed males to audit their classes, so the classrooms weren’t really single-sex anyway.
  • In a dissent it was argued that Hogan hadn’t suffered a harm because there were other nursing schools he could have attended. In addition, providing single-sex education is an alternative that promotes diversity and choice.
    • That’s basically the same arguments used to justify the “separate but equal” policy of racial discrimination.