Supreme Court throws out Wal-Mart suit, narrows class-action discrimination actions

posted at 12:40 pm on June 20, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The Supreme Court took a big bite out of the pockets of class-action trial lawyers today, at least in the field of employment discrimination.  The court unanimously rejected a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart on behalf of 1.6 million female employees that attempted to argue that the retail giant purposefully and systematically discriminated on gender for compensation.  But a narrow 5-4 ruling on a companion issue promises to make filing any more such class-action lawsuits nearly impossible:

The justices divided 5-4 on another aspect of the ruling that could make it much harder to mount similar class-action discrimination lawsuits against large employers.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the court’s conservative majority said there needs to be common elements tying together “literally millions of employment decisions at once.”

But Scalia said that in the lawsuit against the nation’s largest private employer, “That is entirely absent here.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court’s four liberal justices, said there was more than enough uniting the claims. “Wal-Mart’s delegation of discretion over pay and promotions is a policy uniform throughout all stores,” Ginsburg said.

The contrasting opinions gives a good indication of what is at stake.  In most corporations (especially national retail chains), compensation decisions are almost always delegated to individual locations or regional management.  For one thing, the labor market varies from region to region, and what amounts to competitive compensation in one region might be insufficient in another, depending on the cost of living, labor availability, and so on.

Ginsburg’s identification of this as a prima facie indication of discrimination would have exposed virtually all US retailers to such class-action lawsuits.  Not only would that have sapped retailers of billions in capital, but it doesn’t make any sense on its face anyway.  If compensation decisions are decentralized throughout an organization, how can that possibly demonstrate a coordinated, centralized, and explicit effort to discriminate on the basis of anything?

Scalia addresses this in his lead opinion, pp16-17:

First, if the employer “used a biased testing procedure to evaluate both applicants for employment and incumbent employees, a class action on behalf of every applicant or employee who might have been prejudiced by the test clearly would satisfy the commonality and typicality requirements of Rule 23(a).” Id., at 159, n. 15. Second, “[s]ignificant proof that an employer operated under a general policy of discrimination conceivably could justify a class of both applicants and employees if the discrimination manifested itself in hiring and promotion practices in the same general fashion, such as through entirely subjective decision making processes.” Ibid. We think that statement precisely describes respondents’ burden in this case. The first manner of bridging the gap obviously has no application here; Wal-Mart has no testing procedure or other company wide evaluation method that can be charged with bias. The whole point of permitting discretionary decisionmaking is to avoid evaluating employees under a common standard.

That leads logically to this, pp 21:

Even if it established (as it does not) a pay or promotion pattern that differs from the nationwide figures or the regional figures in all of Wal-Mart’s 3,400 stores, that would still not demonstrate that commonality of issue exists. Some managers will claim that the availability of women, or qualified women, or interested women, in their stores’ area does not mirror the national or regional statistics. And almost all of them will claim to have been applying some sex-neutral, performance-based criteria—whose nature and effectswill differ from store to store. In the landmark case of ours which held that giving discretion to lower-level supervisors can be the basis of Title VII liability under a disparate-impact theory, the plurality opinion conditioned that holding on the corollary that merely proving that the discretionary system has produced a racial or sexual disparity is not enough. “[T]he plaintiff must begin by identifying the specific employment practice that is chal-lenged.” Watson, 487 U. S., at 994; accord, Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U. S. 642, 656 (1989) (approving that statement), superseded by statute on other grounds, 42 U. S. C. §2000e–2(k). That is all the more necessary when a class of plaintiffs is sought to be certified. Other than the bare existence of delegated discretion, respondents have identified no “specific employment practice”—much less one that ties all their 1.5 million claims together. Merely showing that Wal-Mart’s policy of discretion has produced an overall sex-based disparity does not suffice.

Respondents’ anecdotal evidence suffers from the same defects, and in addition is too weak to raise any inference that all the individual, discretionary personnel decisions are discriminatory.

This is a blockbuster decision by the Supreme Court, quite possibly the most impactful of this session.  It practically dismantles employment discrimination class-action lawsuits while keeping very much in place legitimate individual claims, or classes where specific commonalities of discrimination took place.  That will allow the courts to focus on actual discrimination where it occurs, and to eliminate at least one process by which trial lawyers turn corporations into ATM machines — the kind that really do increase joblessness.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Communists, Socialists, and Union Thugs hardest hit.

CPT. Charles on June 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM

“NOW” gals and Unions and Lawyers trying to suck a few Billions off a big client hardest hit.

Suck it up if you don’t like it and get another job.

PappyD61 on June 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Good news! Lets just pray the right SC Judges have good health so bho can’t appoint another left Judge.
L

letget on June 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM

And another Activist SCOTUS ruling this morning…

The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from ACORN, the activist group driven to ruin by scandal and financial woes, over being banned from getting federal funds. The high court on Monday refused to review a federal court’s decision to uphold Congress’s ban on federal funds for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 12:45 PM

eliminate at least one process by which trial lawyers turn corporations into ATM machines — the kind that really do increase joblessness.

SNAP!

Nice one, Ed

DrAllecon on June 20, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Those who are educated and understand the workings of the law versus those placed on the highest court in the land to apply agenda wherever they can get away with it. The huge weight of tipping the scales based on race, gender and Progressive agenda being counterbalanced by a thin line on the Supreme Court and destructive fool making the picks if another slot opens.

Hening on June 20, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Guess they aren’t unionizing Walmart now, huh. heh

upinak on June 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM

This is why it is important to vote for the GOP. Even if it’s a RINO.
Bcs even a RINO might appoint something better than a liberal.
And whether we like it or not-SCOTUS rules the lives of ALL Americans.
Bcs we have let them.

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Oh, I like that one even better. Here’s the link.

Court won’t hear ACORN lawsuit over gov’t funding

Knucklehead on June 20, 2011 at 12:49 PM

How’s Scalia’s BOOM STICK taste?

Good Lt on June 20, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Newsbusters takes CNN to the woodshed for their biased “reporting” on this story:

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/ken-shepherd/2011/06/20/cnncom-offers-readers-inaccurate-biased-take-supreme-court-wal-mart-ru

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 12:50 PM

“and to eliminate at least one process by which trial lawyers turn corporations into ATM machines —…”

Cr66 hardest hit…

Seven Percent Solution on June 20, 2011 at 12:50 PM

and to eliminate at least one process by which trial lawyers turn corporations into ATM machines — the kind that really do increase joblessness.

heh. I see what you did there. ++

ted c on June 20, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Where is Crr6 to explain to us how the Supreme Court screwed up, and we are all mouth breathing fools?

portlandon on June 20, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Two good rulings in one day!

Plus they declined to hear the ACORN appeal!

petefrt on June 20, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Love you, Ed, but please don’t use the word “impactful” ever again. Ever.

greggriffith on June 20, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Good.

Bob's Kid on June 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Color me shocked!

SouthernGent on June 20, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Cue some purist to explain that we don’t know that McCain wouldn’t have chosen Sotomayor or Kagan in 3, 2, 1…

Or will it be the Souter argument?

John Deaux on June 20, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Where is Crr6 to explain to us how the Supreme Court screwed up, and we are all mouth breathing fools?

portlandon on June 20, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Still waiting for the Lawyer Left Talking Points to arrive.

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 12:57 PM

8-0 ruling.

txmomof6 on June 20, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Cold water in everybody’s faces…..unless the RNC gets some brain cells Barry will get 4 more and that 5-4 will the other way around in 2013.

Limerick on June 20, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Cr66 hardest hit…

Seven Percent Solution on June 20, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Count it!

fossten on June 20, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Hening on June 20, 2011 at 12:46 PM

huh?

ericdijon on June 20, 2011 at 12:59 PM

excellent

cmsinaz on June 20, 2011 at 12:59 PM

“Wal-Mart’s delegation of discretion over pay and promotions is a policy uniform throughout all stores,” Ginsburg said.

The woman has gone senile.

A uniform policy against discrimination shows commonality of possible discriminatory practices?

Just wow.

I think she’s jumped the shark.

ButterflyDragon on June 20, 2011 at 12:59 PM

9th CIRCUS COURT gets OWNED again!

tx2654 on June 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Aside from the vast ideological differences, anyone else detect a vast intelligence difference?

Ginsburg has the brain of a C- 4th grader.

Odie1941 on June 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Over the years I figure I’ve been asked, from out of the blue via mail and phone, to be part of at least a dozen class action lawsuits; what a freaking racket.

WitchDoctor on June 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I’m a lawyer and I applaud this decision. Decent lawyers don’t like trial lawyers that try to create perceived victims for a payday any more than you do. In fact, less, because it makes the whole profession look bad.

Meric1837 on June 20, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Meric1837 on June 20, 2011 at 1:02 PM

which type are you?

upinak on June 20, 2011 at 1:03 PM

This is a blockbuster decision by the Supreme Court, quite possibly the most impactful of this session.

And highlights how important it is to maintain, at the very least, this balance of conservative and liberals.
The next president will have at least one appointment…

right2bright on June 20, 2011 at 1:04 PM

which type are you?

upinak on June 20, 2011 at 1:03 PM

What a great line…

right2bright on June 20, 2011 at 1:05 PM

The Supreme court should eak up the 9th circuit. I’m tired off their rulings. Cali, Washington, and Oregon can keep them.

andy85719 on June 20, 2011 at 1:05 PM

I meant “break”.

andy85719 on June 20, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Hear that?

That was crr6′s head exploding yet again.

Between this an the WI ruling, I kind of fear for her. She may well be certifiably insane by now. He whole world is falling apart.

angryed on June 20, 2011 at 1:05 PM

5-4. Shows how vitally important it is to have a conservative court. Palin 2012. If she runs. :)

Paul-Cincy on June 20, 2011 at 1:06 PM

I’ll bet Scalia had a whole of fun writing this one.

Wethal on June 20, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Obama: Hey, can I overturn the Supreme Court by Executive Order?

White House Counsel: Ummm…no!

Robert Bauer and Harold Koh (in unison): Sure you can boss

Trafalgar on June 20, 2011 at 1:07 PM

The usual suspects will complain about big corporations having their way but in the end it’s better for us consumers. Imagine if the flood gates on this opened and trial lawyers start hitting up every big corporation and what that would ultimately do to prices.

Yakko77 on June 20, 2011 at 1:08 PM

upinak on June 20, 2011 at 1:03 PM

I’m hesitant to say specifically. I provide legal advice for a governmental body.

Meric1837 on June 20, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Guess they aren’t unionizing Walmart now, huh. heh

upinak on June 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM

The unions lost a big one in New York last week when Target workers voted against being unionized.

Vince on June 20, 2011 at 1:10 PM

COMMERCE CLAUSE …. or something.

crr6

Aviator on June 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

I’m hesitant to say specifically. I provide legal advice for a governmental body.

Meric1837 on June 20, 2011 at 1:10 PM

All you had to say is what type of lawyer. You didn’t have to say what exactly it was you did.

upinak on June 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Stan Chesley, of Cincinnati, created the the class action lawsuit in the 1970s for the Kentucky Beverly Hills Supper Club lawsuit. In the last week Chesley was recommended to be disbarred in Kentucky for ripping off people for millions of dollars in the Fen-Phen lawsuit. Maybe life is fair after all. (Chesley, big contributor to the Democratic Party)

He’s sucked billions of dollars out of, in my opinion, often innocent defendants. And inspired others to do the same — “Erin Brokovich”, and silicon implants, to just name two. Zero evidence of wrongdoing, a billion $ + paid out.

Paul-Cincy on June 20, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Ed’s Vendetta against the legal industry continues….

The ruling is procedural, not substantive. Class actions are, have been, and always will be very useful tools when the circumstances are right. They represent the only way to challenge big corporations on small injuries inflicted on large numbers of persons. However, under the well established rules for class actions, you need commonality. That means all the class members must have a common claim based on the same wrong caused by the same instrumentality. In this case, all of the women may have suffered discrimination, and according to the surveys, they did, but the Plaintiff’s lawyers could not point to any common policy that they alleged caused the disparate impact. The ruling does not say that Wal-Mart is innocent or that the women were not discriminated against, just that the case as defined by the lawyers fails to satisfy the requirement of commonality to be certified as a class action. Frankly, from what I know about the lawsuit, that is no surprise. I guess the objective of the suit was to see if the common disparate impact by itself was sufficient to satisfy the requirement of commonality. It wasn’t. They still needed to show a common cause for the disparate impact. The class was not certified. That is just our justice system at work, not a nefarious scheme by trial lawyers to bring down the republic.

tommylotto on June 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Thank you President Obama.
 
crr6 on May 1, 2011 at 10:45 PM

rogerb on June 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

I’m hesitant to say specifically. I provide legal advice for a governmental body.

Meric1837 on June 20, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Your obtuse answer, was the answer…I thought upinak post was a funny, now it turns out to be revealing.

right2bright on June 20, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Cue some purist to explain that we don’t know that McCain wouldn’t have chosen Sotomayor or Kagan in 3, 2, 1…
Or will it be the Souter argument?
John Deaux on June 20, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Didn’t Bush put Souter on the court?

CCRWM on June 20, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Ed’s Vendetta against the legal industry continues….

The ruling is procedural, not substantive. Class actions are, have been, and always will be very useful tools when the circumstances are right. They represent the only way to challenge big corporations on small injuries inflicted on large numbers of persons. However, under the well established rules for class actions, you need commonality. That means all the class members must have a common claim based on the same wrong caused by the same instrumentality. In this case, all of the women may have suffered discrimination, and according to the surveys, they did, but the Plaintiff’s lawyers could not point to any common policy that they alleged caused the disparate impact. The ruling does not say that Wal-Mart is innocent or that the women were not discriminated against, just that the case as defined by the lawyers fails to satisfy the requirement of commonality to be certified as a class action. Frankly, from what I know about the lawsuit, that is no surprise. I guess the objective of the suit was to see if the common disparate impact by itself was sufficient to satisfy the requirement of commonality. It wasn’t. They still needed to show a common cause for the disparate impact. The class was not certified. That is just our justice system at work, not a nefarious scheme by trial lawyers to bring down the republic.

tommylotto on June 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Most procedures at the SC level are pretty substantive.

And the bigger picture is the lower court allowed this (even in your words) case to continue based on “commonality” – which is a joke.

And it is a proper attack on trial lawyers who make x% more on each additional claimant… for no other reason but to get paid. The fact they attempted to represent 1.4 million of “all Wal Mart female employees” is pathetic and sad.

Odie1941 on June 20, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I don’t doubt that the subject plaintiffs were discriminated against. But they can’t parlay that into a national class-action. The suits would have to be pursued store-by-store, maybe a couple hundred employees at a time. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

alwaysfiredup on June 20, 2011 at 1:24 PM

“The Supreme Court, uh, acted stupidly.”
/Barack Obama

Vyce on June 20, 2011 at 1:25 PM

And in other news:

The Supreme Court today unanimously rejected the effort by some states to sue utilities for greenhouse gas emissions on the basis of the nuisance doctrine

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/20/hansens-death-train-argument-denied-as-a-nuisance/

crosspatch on June 20, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Stan Chesley, of Cincinnati, created the the class action lawsuit in the 1970s for the Kentucky Beverly Hills Supper Club lawsuit. In the last week Chesley was recommended to be disbarred in Kentucky for ripping off people for millions of dollars in the Fen-Phen lawsuit. Maybe life is fair after all. (Chesley, big contributor to the Democratic Party)

He’s sucked billions of dollars out of, in my opinion, often innocent defendants. And inspired others to do the same — “Erin Brokovich”, and silicon implants, to just name two. Zero evidence of wrongdoing, a billion $ + paid out.

Paul-Cincy on June 20, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Well said. Unfortunately most people believed a C movie with a mediocre actress smiling was “what happened”, as they do considering DuPont’s silicon lawsuits… of which bankrupted a 150+ year company, based on zero evidence, statistics and actual medical claims.

Odie1941 on June 20, 2011 at 1:27 PM

And it is a proper attack on trial lawyers who make x% more on each additional claimant… for no other reason but to get paid. The fact they attempted to represent 1.4 million of “all Wal Mart female employees” is pathetic and sad.

Odie1941 on June 20, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Wiki

Class members often receive little or no benefit from class actions. Examples cited for this include large fees for the attorneys, while leaving class members with coupons or other awards of little or no value; unjustified awards are made to certain plaintiffs at the expense of other class members; and confusing notices are published that prevent class members from being able to fully understand and effectively exercise their rights.

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 1:27 PM

That is just our justice system at work, not a nefarious scheme by trial lawyers to bring down the republic.

tommylotto on June 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Trial lawyers (a/k/a plaintiffs’ lawyers) don’t want to bring down the republic. They want to control it.

Fat fees lead to plaintiff’s lawyers’ donations to liberal politicans’ campaigns, which lead to laws favoring plaintiffs and judicial appointments of liberal judges….which keeps the cash flowing to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, who donate it to….

Wethal on June 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Good for Wal-Mart, the great American success story.

slickwillie2001 on June 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Over the years I figure I’ve been asked, from out of the blue via mail and phone, to be part of at least a dozen class action lawsuits; what a freaking racket.
WitchDoctor on June 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I just got a letter asking me to join a lawsuit against State Farm Insurance and I’ve never had State Farm insurance… It is a racket!

CCRWM on June 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

That is just our justice system at work, not a nefarious scheme by trial lawyers to bring down the republic.

tommylotto on June 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Lawyers have ruined this country by using the justice system.
Just like a criminal uses a gun.

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Class members often receive little or no benefit from class actions. Examples cited for this include large fees for the attorneys, while leaving class members with coupons or other awards of little or no value; unjustified awards are made to certain plaintiffs at the expense of other class members; and confusing notices are published that prevent class members from being able to fully understand and effectively exercise their rights.
Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 1:27 PM

I’ve seen info from some of these things come to me.
I recall one that would have netted me $5.
WTH?!
THAT is nothing but abuse.

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

One of the primary plaintiff’s is an elderly WalMart ‘greeter’. I don’t know what her argument was but if there’s a position to be promoted to from ‘elderly greeter’ it must be a highly coveted position… or this whole lawsuit was just a deep pocket scam by self-serving lawyers to begin with. (Duh)

FlatFoot on June 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Just how much is enough money, huh Obama?
Why aren’t you picking on these guys?

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Scalia is Teh Bestest.

Nelsen on June 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM

good decision today form the SCOTUs…gives me hope that they will repeal Obamacare’s manadate.

unseen on June 20, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Lawyers have ruined this country by using the justice system.
Just like a criminal uses a gun.

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 1:29 PM

great point…might have to steal it

unseen on June 20, 2011 at 1:39 PM

My accident back in ’96 garnered ~$25,000.
Guess how much I got out of it?
Less than $5,000.
Something is wrong in this country.

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Ed’s Vendetta against the legal industry continues….

blah, blah, blah

tommylotto on June 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

It’s all about lawyers sucking the life out of the rest of us. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and they are squeaky wheels, with megaphones.

Paul-Cincy on June 20, 2011 at 1:41 PM

It’s all about lawyers sucking the life out of the rest of us. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and they are squeaky wheels, with megaphones.

Paul-Cincy on June 20, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Amen. Regarding their impact on the health-care industry.

Badger40 on June 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Yea Walmart! I luvs you!
*just azz-kissing my employer*

annoyinglittletwerp on June 20, 2011 at 1:48 PM

We’re really gonna be toast if the court ever gets lopsided the other direction…the Constitution will be completely forfeited…

Ltlgeneral64 on June 20, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Guess they aren’t unionizing Walmart now, huh. heh

upinak on June 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM

The unions lost a big one in New York last week when Target workers voted against being unionized.

Vince on June 20, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Even my liberal co-workers in produce despise unions.
We all agree that Walmart treats us well.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Bank on the left using this, unionization and other circuses in front and inside Wal-Mart stores ahead of 2012, Nov.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Ginsburg – figures.

As for the lawyers………they wept. No more million dollar cases.

GarandFan on June 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Bank on the left using this, unionization and other circuses in front and inside Wal-Mart stores ahead of 2012, Nov.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Good luck with them trying that @ MY store. NO ONE supports unions ’round here.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 20, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Communists, Socialists, and Union Thugs hardest hit.

CPT. Charles on June 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM

…and crr6s

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2011 at 2:03 PM

First the Texas “loser pays” and now this…mh, lawyers re-thinking their donations? Don’t bank on it.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2011 at 2:04 PM

And another 8-0 SCOTUS ruling (Sotomayor recusing herself). From Mr. Hayward at Power Line:

The left is having a terrible day today at the Supreme Court, where two cases the left had held out high hope for went down in flames in unanimous decisions (so they can’t complain about the usual 5 – 4 conservative-liberal split).

The first is a delicious case of environmentalists being hoist by their own petard. In American Electric Power v. Connecticut, the Court ruled 8 – 0 (with Sotomayor recusing) that environmentalists cannot bring a common law nuisance suit against power plants for greenhouse gas emissions because such suits have been pre-empted by the Clean Air Act and EPA regulation, which of course was the result of an earlier successful environment lawsuit, Massachusetts v. EPA in 2007. So now we have environmentalist lawsuits colliding with one another and tripping over their own political and legal incoherence.

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

…and crr6s
Schadenfreude on June 20, 2011 at 2:03 PM

And? She’s included in that list.

Bishop on June 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Paul-Cincy on June 20, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Oddly enough, this piece of news isn’t getting a whole lotta national airplay considering Chesley’s prominence in the DNC’s money machine.

It’s considered major news locally, but beyond that…it’s ‘cue the crickets’.

Hopefully he won’t be only big-time ‘slip & fall’ lawyer to get the scrutiny they deserve.

CPT. Charles on June 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

DOesn’t that EPA Supreme COurt ruling put teeth into the EPA with their jobs busting CO2 and texas lizard rulings? I am concerned.

karenhasfreedom on June 20, 2011 at 2:18 PM

This is a blockbuster decision by the Supreme Court, quite possibly the most impactful of this session.

I dunno, Ed. I think SCOTUS killing the Fourth Amendment (Kentucky v. King) is a pretty big deal.

Rae on June 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM

SCOTUS is awesome today. Much moreso than I had thought they would be.

Rae on June 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I agree and would hope the justices curtail their language in the next 4th amendment opinion. They can’t have meant what it appears they said.

alwaysfiredup on June 20, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Cue some purist to explain that we don’t know that McCain wouldn’t have chosen Sotomayor or Kagan in 3, 2, 1…

Or will it be the Souter argument?

John Deaux on June 20, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Purist? More like realist. We don’t know that he wouldn’t have chosen a Sotomayer or a Kagan, but we do know that he has a history of taking stances on lots of issues which are far from conservative.

Is it okay to want the most conservative president that can get elected? I believe that the more conservative the president, the better it is for the country, and not just when it comes to SCOTUS appointments. Is that “purist?”

JannyMae on June 20, 2011 at 2:36 PM

DOesn’t that EPA Supreme COurt ruling put teeth into the EPA with their jobs busting CO2 and texas lizard rulings? karenhasfreedom on June 20, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Only until there is a GOP president, who can change the EPA regs. If the plaintiffs had won in this case, they could have sued under public nuisance laws even though a GOP administration refused to regulate CO2 as a pollutant.

Wethal on June 20, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Ed’s Vendetta against the legal industry continues….

blah, blah, blah

tommylotto on June 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

It’s all about lawyers sucking the life out of the rest of us. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and they are squeaky wheels, with megaphones.

Paul-Cincy on June 20, 2011 at 1:41 PM

from AP

Trial attorneys use obscure labor law that sees retailers facing millions in damages. Retail store operators may want to sit down for this one — if they can find a chair. Nearly every national chain is under legal attack in California for failing to provide “suitable seating” for cashiers and other employees who are expected to spend most of their work day on their feet. Enterprising trial attorneys by the dozen are using an obscure California labor law requiring retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target to have enough seats on hand for their workers.

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 3:06 PM

The recently fired House Speaker chimes in:

Today’s Supreme Court decision sets back the cause of equality for women and for all Americans in the workplace and in our society. And it will make it more difficult for workers to come together to fight claims of gender discrimination.

The Democratic Congress took a critical step forward in the fight for equal pay when we passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act – the first bill President Obama signed into law – restoring the right of women and other workers to challenge unfair pay in court. But it was not enough.

Today’s ruling underscores the need to act boldly and strongly on behalf of women’s rights: we must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work. It is a matter of fundamental fairness in our nation, and we must work – in the courts and in Congress – to correct this injustice throughout our country.

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 3:08 PM

I’ve been included in several class-action lawsuits (through no action of my own). Even as an “injured” party, the most I’ve seen is like $46 while the lawyers walk off with millions… which I eventually pay for through higher prices, and unemployment (taxation).

It’s a stinking business.

mankai on June 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM

“The ruling is procedural, not substantive.”

Which in class action cases is the major component of the case. The substantive claims are generally relatively small individually and the most important factor in ANY class action case is whether the class will be certified. Thus, the “procedural” issue of certification was the biggie here. Please note also that not only must the commonality factor be met but the common elements of the claims must predominate all other elements of the cases. (generally referred to as the “predominance” test.) Quite frankly it would would be rare if not impossible for any discrimination case to meet the “commonality” and “predominance” tests and still be numerous enough (the “numerosity test”) to qualify for certification as a class. Excellent decision which hopefully will put a major dent in the legalized extortion racket which goes under the name of class action litigation.

tommyboy on June 20, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Ed’s Vendetta against the legal industry continues….

tommylotto on June 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Quit picking on lawyers, Ed. So there’s a few bad eggs. 90% of lawyers give the other 10% a bad name.

tom on June 20, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Cue some purist to explain that we don’t know that McCain wouldn’t have chosen Sotomayor or Kagan in 3, 2, 1…

Or will it be the Souter argument?

John Deaux on June 20, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Don’t know about those two, but his gang of 14 were open to supporting librards. But we can be sure on the whole, he’d not be much different than Obama in presiding over America’s decline. Obama had Zerocare and McVain would have had amnesty and his AG, Grahamnesty would have gone after bigots that protested it. We’d also have Crap & Tax.

For a list of Juan’s “Nope & Same” as Obama, see this Townhall article: The Legacy of Bailout Nations.

AH_C on June 20, 2011 at 4:03 PM

“Wal-Mart’s delegation of discretion over pay and promotions is a policy uniform throughout all stores,” Ginsburg said.

I’m sorry, but you have to probably suffer from literal mental retardation to make such an absurd claim. Common sense and basic logic tells us that there’s no way that that claim is even remotely possible.

How is this idiot on the court?!

TheBlueSite on June 20, 2011 at 4:08 PM

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from ACORN, the activist group driven to ruin by scandal and financial woes, over being banned from getting federal funds.

The high court on Monday refused to review a federal court’s decision to uphold Congress’s ban on federal funds for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Congress cut off ACORN’s federal funding last year in response to allegations the group engaged in voter registration fraud and embezzlement and violated the tax-exempt status of some of its affiliates by engaging in partisan political activities.

ACORN sued, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City upheld the action. The high court refused to hear its appeal.

The case is ACORN v. United States, 10-1068.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2011 at 4:11 PM

If compensation decisions are decentralized throughout an organization, how can that possibly demonstrate a coordinated, centralized, and explicit effort to discriminate on the basis of anything?

EXACTLY. Only someone with their head up their backside would think that makes sense. Is Ginsburg under the notion that Wal Mart has, at its corporate headquarters, a supreme commander position where a lone person makes hiring and compensation decisions over literally tens of thousands of employees? That person must have a HUGE desk buried under resumes, time cards, and personnel files!

TheBlueSite on June 20, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Wethal on June 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

That is exactly correct. I was a paralegal at two Plaintiff’s personal injury law firms. Both of them were run by attorneys who were Democrats and heavily involved in the party and in fund raising. All they cared about was money. They didn’t think for a moment about rather their actions were just, legal, or in the best interests of America. They just worshipped money. They also didn’t pay their employees well or provide the best benefits. They looked for any way they could to avoid paying taxes.

And they call Republicans the party of the rich!

MeAlice on June 20, 2011 at 4:12 PM

SCOTUS oral argument on C-SPAN now.

Good times.

hillbillyjim on June 20, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Does Hallmark make a sympathy card that reads:

Commerce Clause—LOL

?

I’m trying to find something suitable for cur6.

hillbillyjim on June 20, 2011 at 4:27 PM

How is this idiot on the court?!

TheBlueSite on June 20, 2011 at 4:08 PM

900 FBI files?

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2011 at 5:12 PM

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