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Noel Merino, ed., GENDER. Farmington Hills, MI: Green haven Press, 2010. (Issues on Trial.) 240p. index. $39.70, ISBN 978-0737749489.

Gender. The law. Does each affect the other? Indeed, there are direct connections as well as significant indirect influences between them, even if some constitutional scholars--Robert A. Goldwin, for instance--would argue differently: "Strictly speaking," Goldwin wrote in an entry titled "Gender Rights," in the 2000 edition of the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, "there can be no distinct class of gender rights under the Constitution, but only the same rights (or all persons, or all citizens, regardless of sex. The Constitution secures rights only of individuals, nor of groups, and makes no distinction between men and women." (1) This Gender volume in Greenhaven Press's Issues on Trial series, however, examines some of the complex connections between gender and the law that play out in real life--and in real court cases.

Three of the four chapters in Gender examine a U.S. Supreme Court decision about a gender issue: the 1981 case of Rostker v. Goldberg ("Upholding Selective Service Registration for Males Only"); the 1989 case of Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins ("Employment Decisions Influenced by Gender Stereotypes Are Discriminatory"); and the 1996 United States v. Virginia case ("Finding Virginia Military Institutes Single-Sex Policy Unconstitutional"). Each of these chapters provides not only the majority (or plurality) and dissenting opinions for the case, but also arguments and commentary on both sides of the issue from attorneys, professors, and other writers. The fourth chapter, "Gender-Based Discrimination Toward Transsexuals Is Sex Discrimination," looks at the 2004 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District in Smith v. Salem, Ohio, et al. One writer in this chapter, attorney Paul Gugel, claims that the appeals courts finding in Smith went too far, while attorney Melinda Chow argues the opposite: that the court was right to expand the legal understanding of sex discrimination to include transgendered individuals.

This volume in the Issues on Trial series is an excellent introductory resource. It includes suggestions for further research, a list of organizations to contact (for example, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Lambda Legal, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR)), and an index to the volume.


(1.) 2nd edition, ed. by Leonard W. Levy & Kenneth L. Karst. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA (part of the Gale Virtual Reference Library), vol. 3, p.1185.

Reviewed by Chimene Tucker

[Chimene Tucker is the communication and journalism librarian at the University of Southern California.]

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Author:Tucker, Chimene
Publication:Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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