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An Introduction to Constitutional Law » Craig v. Boren

An introduction to Constitutional Law 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know

Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman

Craig v. Boren (1976) involved a sex-based classification that treated men worse than it did women. Oklahoma law prohibited the sale of “nonintoxicating” 3.2 percent beer to males under the age of 21. But women could buy the light beer at the age of 18. The state argued that young women were less likely to drive drunk and get into traffic accidents. Therefore, the sex-based classification was related to a legitimate state interest: the improvement of traffic safety on Oklahoma roads.

The Supreme Court rejected this argument. Justice Brennan wrote the majority opinion.

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