In 1967, Richard Reed, a minor and the only son of Sally and Cecil Reed, died in Idaho. Richard died without a will, and so an executor for his estate needed to be named. Both Sally and Cecil Reed, who had previously divorced, applied to be the executor of Richard’s estate. Based on Idaho law, the probate court declared Cecil Reed the executor of the estate. This case became the starting point for an evolution in the developing standard for gender discrimination cases promulgated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Along with the growing women’s rights movement and congressional passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, major legal, political and social changes concerning the status of women began to take place in the United States. These events allow us to examine the role of the legal set and the importance of courts in moving policy forward, provided the courts’ policies fit into the available and supportable policy domain.