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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Boise attorney Allen Derr honored for landmark gender-equity case

Marking the 40th anniversary of the landmark “Reed vs. Reed” case, Boise attorney Allen Derr is being honored both in Idaho and in Washington, D.C. Derr, 83, who still practices law, represented Sally Reed of Boise when she sought control over her son's estate rather than yield that to her abusive ex-husband, despite an Idaho law declaring males to be favored over females in such proceedings. Derr pressed the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the Idaho law unconstitutional under the equal protection clause; joining him in the case at the Supreme Court was then-attorney, now-Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Last week, Derr was a guest at a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. along with Ginsburg. Next week, Derr will be honored by the University of Idaho College of Law, from which he graduated in 1959, with a reception Nov. 30 at the Idaho Water Center, 322 E. Front St., Ste. 590, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; RSVP to Eric White at 364-4560 or

The National Women's Law Center calls Reed vs. Reed “a landmark decision,” and says it opened the door for successful challenge of numerous other discriminatory laws under the equal protection clause. In Reed vs. Reed, the high court's unanimous decision called the Idaho law in question “the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” You can read more about the case here, and click below for a report from AP reporter John Miller.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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