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United States v. Virginia (1996) is a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case concerning the ability of state officials to maintain public single-sex institutions of higher education. In VMI, the Court held that, as a matter of constitutional law, the Virginia Military Institute could not exclude women from enrolling as students. Insofar as the Court's judgment in VMI took the significant step of outlawing single-sex education at public colleges and universities, this entry examines its background, judicial analyses, and implications.

The VMI was founded in 1839 as a state-supported military school. Since that time, the institute has employed a rigorous curriculum, also referred to as the “adversative method,” which is designed to produce citizen-soldiers who become leaders in both military and civilian life. While VMI alumni include ...

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