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The basic premise of the Equal Rights Amendment is that sex should
not be a factor in determining the legal rights of women, or of men. Most
of us, I think, agree with this fundamental proposition. For example,
virtually everybody would consider it unjust and irrational to provide by
law that a person could not go to law school or be admitted to the practice
of law because of his or her sex. The reason is that admission to the bar
ought to depend upon legal training, competence in the law, moral
character, and similar factors. Some women meet these qualifications and
some do not; some men meet these qualifications and some do not. But
the issue should be decided on an individual, not a group, basis. The fact
of maleness or femaleness should be irrelevant. This remains true whether
or not there are more men than women who qualify. It likewise remains
true even if there be no women who presently qualify, because women
potentially qualify and might do so under different conditions of
education and upbringing. The law, in short, owes an obligation to treat
females as persons, not statistical abstracts.

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