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Califano v. Goldfarb

United States Supreme Court
430 U.S. 199 (1977)


Hannah Goldfarb was employed as a secretary for 25 years. Pursuant to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, Mrs. Goldfarb paid social-security taxes while working. In 1968, Mrs. Goldfarb passed away. Based on the taxes paid by Mrs. Goldfarb, her husband, Leon Goldfarb (plaintiff), sought widower’s benefits under the Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Benefits (OASDI) program, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-431, which was administered by Joseph Califano (defendant), the U.S. secretary of health, education, and welfare. Mr. Goldfarb’s application was denied because he had not been receiving at least half his support from Mrs. Goldfarb when she died, as required by section 402(f)(1)(D) of the OASDI program. The district court held that section 402(f)(1)(D) constituted gender-based discrimination in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Califano appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

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