This paper argues that, as an amicus curiae who was working for the American Civil Liberties Union, Ruth Bader Ginsburg influenced the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision-making in the landmark 1976 case of Craig v. Boren. Craig, which received national news coverage from the New York Times, provided women, and men, with greater protection against governmental gender-based discrimination. In making the argument, this paper initially provides a brief, but essential note on heightened scrutiny in equal protection cases. Next, the paper compares the arguments of Ginsburg and Justice William Brennan, who wrote the opinion of the Court. Finally, the paper explains how Ginsburg’s appeal to members of the Court, who recently had exhibited moderate positions on the issues of equal protection and gender, contributed to her success. Essentially, Ginsburg did an excellent job adapting to her audience. Such an insight serves as a reminder that the traditional concept of audience adaptation remains an important consideration for scholars who seek to understand legal rhetoric.
Carlo A. Pedrioli, The Heightened Standard of Judicial Review in Cases of Governmental Gender-Based Discrimination: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Influence on the U.S. Supreme Court in Craig v. Boren, in CRITICAL PROBLEMS IN ARGUMENTATION: SELECTED PAPERS FROM THE THIRTEENTH NCS/AFA CONFERENCE ON ARGUMENTATION, 377 (Charles Arthur Willard ed., 2005)