Well, it’s unanimous (and by that I mean, 9 justices including, count’em, three females)
Walmart beat the ladies. And, drumroll…
You will read commentary elsewhere about how the Supremes under Justice Scalia decided to callously turn their backs on women who suffered sex discrimination at the hands of the nation’s largest private employer.
You will hear about how they have made it much more difficult for them to bring lawsuits alleging, among other things, hostile work environments, biased pay scales for men vs. women, and pink-tinged glass ceilings.
And you will also hear about how plaintiffs lawyers, that normally altruistic lot that cares nothing for attorney’s fees and everything for just results will now be wary of taking on individual cases because the pay day is likely to be relatively small.
Because, you see, that’s what this case was all about. It wasn’t whether women were mistreated in the workplace. It wasn’t whether you could sue over perceived slights and legal offenses. That avenue is still open to people who are actually willing to do the legwork and not take the easy way out.
It was whether you should be able to use a class action suit, gathering together all of the hundreds of thousands of unconnected slights that the nation’s women have allegedly suffered and lump them together into the Mother of All Lawsuits.
Justice Scalia and the other eight agreed that the lawyers who had brought the case made some serious procedural errors. And while Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan felt that the door should be left open to some type of class action relief, the bottom line was that lawyers shouldn’t be able to try and get the biggest bang for their buck by creating a huge and amorphous “Plaintiff” that can take on the deep-pocketed defendant.
As both a woman, and a lawyer, I applaud the court.