"The Constitution requires that Congress treat similarly situated persons similarly, not that it engages in gestures of superficial equality."
William H. Rehnquist
(1924-2005) Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court
Rosker v. Goldberg, 25 June 1981
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Reader comments about this quote:
I'm not sure what the quote is referencing? It is a nice gesture and has place at common law but, I think it here reeks (considering the source) of social engineering far beyond the registration of both males and females for military service. I don't know of a specific place in the Constitution that uses the term 'requires' to mandate treating people similarly. The Declaration of Independence states "equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them" as "all men are created equal" and some Amendments address the topic but ?
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I understand the common law implication and happen to agree with it but, how would that stand alone statement be applied to Congress v the rest of the peasants? Would it be Constitutionally required then to treat congressmen (by the passage of any and all codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc.) and the voting rabble similarly? Just what kind of creative dichotomies can a deviated mind come up with? hmmm
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I think that our society should abide by the original constitution and that our forefathers ways of thinking were better than the way the government is ran now. There is to much dishonesty in the government.
     -- Edith Tinsley, Buffalo, NY     
    Our Congress treats everyone equally, but some seem to be more equal than others.
     -- jim k, Austin.Tx     
    I am also a little dubious of the quote. The use of the term "person" when referencing "people", has been somewhat bastardized in legal terms to exercise greater control over "individuals". Black's Law Dictionary defines "person" as: "A man considered according to the rank he holds in society, with all the rights to which the place he holds entitles him, and the duties which it imposes. A human being considered as capable of having rights and of being charged with duties; while a "thing" is the object over which rights may be exercised. - Artificial Persons. Such are as created and devised by law for the purposes of society and government, called "corporations" or bodies politic. - Natural Persons. Such as are formed by nature, as distinguished from artificial persons, or corporations. - Private Person. An individual who is not the incumbent of an office..." So who do you think they are taxing and or prosecuting? The individual, the corporation, the artificial person, the natural person or the private person? This is exactly why we need a Justice System...not a Law System.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    I would agree with Jim, that our Congress supposedly treats all of its citizens equally but some are treated more equally than others. Really all Americans should be treated equally and yet we do not see that happening in the courts as it should. Nor does the Mayor's office treat everyone equally as it should. It would be nice if government cared about all people equally and wanted good for everyone, not just for some.
     -- Red F., Braintree     
    What about 'similarly situated' ... that is the key here...people are in all sorts of situations allowing for all sorts of treatment therefore.
     -- Abigail, Newport     
    This is a strange quote; the wording is troubling. I would like to know the context, although even knowing that, I do not think I would agree. The third word is a stumbling block for me. I find Mike's comments helpful and agree with Edith. To J.Carlton: Where does the quote end in your comment or is the entire comment a quote? Thank you.
     -- Carol, Georgia     
    Hi Carol, the exact wording from Black's Law Dictionary begins at... "A man considered according ....and ends at..........incumbent of an office. The rest is my comment.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Carol; the correct spelling is Rostker; Rostker vs. Goldberg, 453 u.s. 57 (June 25, 1981) Rostker, was director of the Selective Service and defendant for the government. Goldberg et al. were the plaintiffs. The question presented was whether the Military Selective Service Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq., violated the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution in authorizing the President to require the registration of males and not females. Some of the reasoning was at best convoluted. The implied understanding after the ruling was, the government could do what ever it wanted as long as it called it similar and fair. If an attorney in a most basic 'Justice of the Peace' judicial proceeding to the Federal Supreme Court was to use the same vague assumptions and non-specific generalities of Rehnquist, they would be laughed out of town.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I think it basically means if they didnt work for it, if they dont have the respect earned....fill in the blanks
     -- Kimo, Lahaiana     
    Oh, really .....
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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