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United States v. Virginia (1996) is often called the “VMI” case because the U.S. Supreme Court had to determine whether the all-male Virginia Military Institute (VMI) unconstitutionally discriminated against women. In United States v. Virginia, the Court ruled that by operating the all-male military academy, the Commonwealth of Virginia violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Facts of the Case

VMI is a public college in Virginia, founded in 1839, which admitted only male applicants. VMI's mission was to produce citizen-soldiers. In order to meet its mission, VMI used what it called an “adversative teaching method.” Under this methodology, to prepare citizen-soldiers, educators at VMI employed physical and mental stress, absence of privacy, and indoctrination into specified military values.

The dispute began ...

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