FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) — U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck, the jurist whose ruling opened the door for women to join The Citadel's Corps of Cadets, has died. He was 84.

The longtime federal judge died Wednesday at home, according to Waters-Powell Funeral Home in Florence. A graveside service is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at Mount Hope Cemetery in Florence.

Houck was nominated to the federal bench by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Fifteen years later, he rejected The Citadel's attempts to keep South Carolina's public military college exclusively male, ruling that Shannon Faulkner could become its first female cadet.

Houck's ruling only covered Faulkner, but other female cadets followed. In an obituary published Thursday, the Post and Courier of Charleston wrote the crux of his July 1994 ruling was that the school's refusal to enroll a state resident on grounds she is female violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Houck graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of South Carolina School of Law. He served two years in the U.S. Army and represented Florence in the South Carolina House in the mid-1960s.