Title: Reed v. Reed, 1971

Medium: Gouache and ink on paper

Year: 2019

Story: Sally and Cecil Reed, a married couple who had separated, were in conflict over which of them to designate as administrator of the estate of their deceased son. Each filed a petition with the Probate Court of Ada County, Idaho, asking to be named. Idaho Code specified that “males must be preferred to females” in appointing administrators of estates and the court appointed Cecil as administrator of the estate, valued at less than $1000. Sally Reed was represented at the Supreme Court by Idaho lawyer, Allen Derr, who argued that the Fourteenth Amendment forbids discrimination based on gender.

After a series of appeals by both Sally and Cecil Reed, the Supreme Court considered the case and delivered a decision for the first time that a law that discriminates against women is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, holding unanimously that a state statute that provides that male must be preferred to females in estate administration denies women equal protection of the law.