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Califano v. Boles
United States Supreme Court
443 U.S. 282, 99 S. Ct. 2767 (1979)
Margaret Gonzales (defendant) applied for mother’s insurance benefits for herself and child’s benefits for her son, Norman J. Boles (defendant), after the boy’s father died. Gonzales was never married to Mr. Boles; however, she lived with him for three years before he married his widow, Nancy Boles, who bore two children during their marriage. Norman J. Boles and the two other Boles children received benefits immediately. Nancy Boles received mother’s insurance benefits. Gonzales was denied because she was never married to Mr. Boles. Gonzales sued the Social Security Administration headed by Joseph A. Califano (plaintiff) claiming her denial resulted in discrimination against her as an unwed mother and her child as illegitimate. The district court certified a class of all illegitimate children and their unwed mothers, represented by the illegitimate Boles and Gonzales. The court found § 202(g)(1), the provision of the Social Security Act (SSA) that provides for mother’s insurance benefits, unconstitutional after determining the pertinent discrimination was against illegitimate children. Califano appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)
Dissent (Marshall, J.)
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