As I impatiently wait for New York to become the sixth state in the country to legalize gay marriage, I figure I may as well do something besides refresh the Advocate’s main page every five minutes. It’s getting late in the day, anyway.
So here’s a round-up of what everyone’s been saying about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on Wal-Mart v. Dukes. In a 5:4 decision*, the issue was not whether Wal-Mart was indeed discriminating against women but whether the more than 1.5 million women suing Wal-Mart could do so as one group. They cannot, according to the majority opinion, which was written by Antonin Scalia, and I honestly don’t fully understand his justification (or why they let that dude anywhere near a gavel). I do know that the court’s decision made big business very, very happy as it may mean the end of the class action lawsuit.
*The 5:4 decision breaks down into 5 conservative male justices against 3 liberal female justices and one liberal male justice. Ugh.
I’ve extracted quotes from each story where the author summarizes how Scalia and the majority justified this ruling:
“In the Wal-Mart case, the court wrote that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated that Wal-Mart had any nationwide policies or practices that discriminated against women,” according to Steven Greenhouse for the New York Times. Read the full story here.
“In the world depicted by Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts, and Kennedy, systemic discrimination only exists when written down or with a distinct policy, which in today’s lawyered world is an exceedingly high standard,” explains Jezebel’s Irin Carmon.
The majority “…accepted Wal-Mart’s argument that the female employees in different jobs at 3,400 different stores nationwide and with different supervisors do not have enough in common to be lumped together in a single class-action lawsuit,” reports James Vicini for Reuters News.
The majority believes “…that a class of 1.5 million plaintiffs was just too big for evidence of gender discrimination to be ‘common’ to all of them — one of the basic requirements in a class action lawsuit,” according to Joanne Bamberger for the Huffington Post.
The majority concluded that, “the allegations against Wal-Mart were too vague and the evidence too weak to establish the common injury essential to encompass all 1.6 million women employed since 1998 in the roughly 3,400 U.S. Wal-Mart stores,” writes Jess Bravin and Ann Zimmerman for the Wall Street Journal.