100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Sally Reed

Sally Reed

Women's Rights before the Law

“I Just Felt a Woman should have the Privilege of Asking” a woman should have the privilege of asking”

Reed v. Reed

404 U.S. 71 (1971)

Mary Maxine Kelso Reed (1909–2002), known throughout her life as “Sally,” was a divorced mother living in Boise, Idaho. When her only child died at the age of sixteen in 1967, she was surprised to discover that a state statute automatically granted a preference to the father as administrator of their son's estate. Reed's challenge to that statute ultimately became the landmark case of Reed v. Reed (1971), in which the Supreme Court for the first time struck down a state law as unconstitutional because it discriminated on the basis of sex.

Sally Reed was born in ...

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