University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Baldwin v. Panetta EE-DC-0072
Docket / Court 1:12-cv-00832-RMC ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On May 23, 2012, two women officers in the U.S. Army Reserve, sued the Department of Defense and the Army in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that their ... read more >
On May 23, 2012, two women officers in the U.S. Army Reserve, sued the Department of Defense and the Army in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that their Fifth Amendment rights had been violated by the Department of Defense. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed the policy of excluding women from 'direct combat' operations violated the Administrative Procedures Act and the plaintiffs' equal protection rights under the Fifth Amendment.

As part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, the Department of Defense (DoD) was required to submit a report reviewing its combat exclusion policies for women. The DoD had, since 1994, a specific policy of excluding women from being part of units, from the battalion-level down, that engaged in direct combat. The Army had a similar policy.

On February 9, 2012, the DoD submitted the report to Congress, detailing how the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force would be given the power to place women into 'direct combat' units, and that the results of this practice would inform future policymaking. The plaintiffs claimed that the DoD policy still permits the exclusion of women from any position where 'job related physical requirements would necessarily exclude the vast majority of women Service members.'

Plaintiffs claim that (1) the policy violates their equal protection rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; (2) that Army officers are already circumventing the DoD policy by 'attaching' women to combat brigades, calling them "Cultural Support Teams."; and (3) that the policy of excluding women is futile. The complaint points out that warfare has become non-linear, and that women who are not given weapons and combat training are ill-suited and endangered when the units to which they are assigned come under attack.

On November 4, 2013, the parties submitted a notice of voluntary dismissal. The next day, the Court approved the notice and the case was dismissed without prejudice.

Blase Kearney - 05/29/2012
Katherine Reineck - 02/07/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-area
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Bivens
Defendant(s) Department of Defense
Plaintiff Description Two female Army Reserve officers
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2012 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:12-cv-00832-RMC (D.D.C.) 11/05/2013
EE-DC-0072-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 05/23/2012
EE-DC-0072-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Collyer, Rosemary M. (D.D.C., FISC)
EE-DC-0072-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baer, Kindra M. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0072-0001
Japha, Maureen M. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0072-0001
Keane, Megan M. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0072-0001
McKelvie, Roderick R. (Delaware)
EE-DC-0072-0001
Sipes, Christopher N. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0072-0001 | EE-DC-0072-9000
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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