Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs

If you are being watched, leave now!

  • Workplace Equality and Economic Empowerment
  • Sex-Based Classification
  • Public Benefits and Poverty
  • Authored Amicus Brief
2003

Determined the constitutionality of enforcing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to the states under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Summary of the Case

The central question before the Court in Hibbs was whether applying the FMLA to the states was within Congress's power under Section 5 of the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that states will not deny any person equal protection of the law, and Section 5 gives Congress power to pass legislation necessary to enforce this guarantee.

Our Role in the Case

Legal Momentum contributed a key amicus brief in Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs on behalf of scholars of women's history. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was pro bono co-counsel on the Legal Momentum brief. Our brief supplied historical research to demonstrate that

  1. the states have historically discriminated on the basis of sex in their family leave policies, and
  2. the states have historically discriminated on the basis of sex through legislation that enforced the stereotypical division of labor between men and women based on the assumption that men should be the primary participants in the labor force and women should be the primary family caretakers.

Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the applicability of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to state employers. The Supreme Court's opinion upholding Congress's power to apply the FMLA to the states relied heavily on arguments and information presented by Legal Momentum.