Reed v. Reed

PETITIONER: Sally Reed
RESPONDENT: Cecil Reed
LOCATION: Former Ada County Courthouse

DOCKET NO.: 70-4
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1971-1972)
LOWER COURT: Idaho Supreme Court

CITATION: 404 US 71 (1971)
ARGUED: Oct 19, 1971
DECIDED: Nov 22, 1971

ADVOCATES:
Allen R. Derr - Argued the cause for the appellant
Charles S. Stout - Argued the cause for the appellee

Facts of the case

The Idaho Probate Code specified that "males must be preferred to females" in appointing administrators of estates. After the death of their adopted son, both Sally and Cecil Reed sought to be named the administrator of their son's estate (the Reeds were separated). According to the Probate Code, Cecil was appointed administrator and Sally challenged the law in court.

Question

Did the Idaho Probate Code violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Media for Reed v. Reed

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 19, 1971 in Reed v. Reed

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in Number 04, Reed against Reed.

Mr. Derr, oh, excuse me, your friend is not quite here yet.

You may proceed.

Let me put a question to you at the outset.

This is -- the statute under which this case comes here has now been superseded, is that correct, by a new statute?

Allen R. Derr:

It has not yet been superseded.

Earlier this year Mr. Chief Justice, the Idaho Supreme Court enacted a uniform probate act.

Now this act does not contain this preference statute that we are talking about in this case.

That act does not come into effect until July of next year.

Warren E. Burger:

But as of July next year, 1972, the new legislation would washout this problem, is that correct?

Allen R. Derr:

It does remove the distinction between (Voice Overlap)

Warren E. Burger:

The plain discrimination.

Allen R. Derr:

Yes.

Warren E. Burger:

The alleged discrimination.

I just want to be sure that I have that clearly in mind.

Allen R. Derr:

Right.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

You have no contention that technical rules of the state (Inaudible)

Allen R. Derr:

No.

I believe that in respondent’s brief they raise the question, but I take the position that we had a State Supreme Court decision that we are here on that the law is still in effect and will be until July of next year.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

And this lady (Inaudible) statute in any way.

Allen R. Derr:

No, she is out --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

(Inaudible)

Allen R. Derr:

That is right, unless she can get relief here.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Mr. Derr I take it that the new act was not prompted by this litigation?

Allen R. Derr:

I do not think it is at all.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Would you give us --

Allen R. Derr:

I just thought --

Harry A. Blackmun:

Would you give us some enlightenment as to the significance of this particular probate?

There is an inference somewhere that it is a less than a thousand dollars inside, is this correct?

Allen R. Derr:

We do not know for sure, Your Honor.