United States Supreme Court
430 U.S. 313 (1977)
Under § 215 of the Social Security Act (SSA), old-age insurance benefits were computed based on a wage-earner’s average monthly wage minus his or her lowest years of earnings during a specific period of employment. Until a 1972 amendment to the SSA, this period of employment was treated differently for males and females. The SSA considered the earnings of males between 1950 and whenever they reached age sixty-five, while it considered the earnings of females between 1950 and whenever they reached age sixty-two. Using this calculation, females could exclude up to three more years of low earnings from their overall computation of benefits than males. This resulted in a slightly higher average monthly wage computation for females, which translated to slightly higher old-age insurance benefits for females than males. Webster (plaintiff) brought suit against Califano (defendant), administrator of the Social Security program, in federal district court on the grounds that the statutory scheme privileging women was unconstitutional. The district court held that § 215 of the SSA violated the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and Califano appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)
Concurrence (Burger, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 240,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.