Hastings Journal on Gender and the Law


Ashley Valdez


The judicial system serves as one channel for effecting positive change in the United States. However, litigation is often criticized as an impractical approach due to its cost-prohibiti ve procedures and inconsistent decisions. This article responds to those criticisms by asserting that no approach can single-handedly create effective social policies. Rather, such policies can only derive from the interpJay among three institutions: grassroots movements, Congress, and the judiciary. Using the historical example of gender inequality in the workforce, the author illustrates that, although the court system may not independently achieve widespread change, it nevertheless plays an indispensable role in the detennination of American social policy.