Politics

Ginsburg In 1975: Separate Bathrooms Are ‘In Some Situations Required’

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Steve Guest Media Reporter

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in 1975 that a ban on sex discrimination does not require unisex restrooms.

In light of the North Carolina transgender bathroom bill debate, Ginsburg’s comments are especially critical.

In an article in The Washington Post in 1975, Ginsberg wrote to dispel the fear that the Equal Rights Act would “require unisex restrooms in public places.” According to Ginsberg, “Emphatically not so.”

The now-Supreme Court justice continued, “Separate places to disrobe, sleep, perform personal bodily functions are permitted, in some situations required, by regard for individual privacy.”

“Individual privacy, a right of constitutional dimension, is appropriately harmonized with the equality principle,” Ginsberg claimed. “But the ‘potty issue’ is likely to remain one of those ultimate questions never pressed to final solution.”

According to University of California, Los Angeles Law School professor Eugene Volokh, “I do think it’s worth noting that, when sex equality rules were championed in the 1970s, now-Justice Ginsburg — one of the most prominent feminist lawyers of her era — rejected as “emphatically” unsound the argument that those rules might lead to males being allowed to use women’s restrooms.”

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