Supreme Court 2011: Winning!
While the three witches from Macbeth and that troll Stephen Breyer are busy conjuring up ways to make our lives miserable, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court has been handing down a remarkable number of excellent decisions as it closes its current term. Is there hope yet for finding ObamaCare unconstitutional in 2012?
On Monday, the court ruled in favor of Wal-Mart that 1.6 million female employees from all different experience levels, supervisory positions, managerial structures, work specialties, employment backgrounds, ages, races, geographical regions, and 3,400 different retail stores cannot collectively prove that they were paid less or denied promotions because of their genitalia.
The plaintiffs didn’t have a particular manager in common, or a particular store, or even a particular region of the country.
Ignore for the moment the fact that a much higher percentage of female employees work part-time or take extended leave to give birth to or care for children, have shorter work histories, or assume fewer responsibilities or work less overtime because they have more modest aspirations for reaching upper management. Never mind that Wal-Mart was named one of the 35 best companies for promoting females in 2007 by the National Association for Female Executives.
The fact remains: The purpose of our court system is to dispense justice by punishing offenders for specific, provable acts of wrongdoing. The purpose of a class action lawsuit is to allow numerous victims who have suffered an identical inconvenience from a specific, narrow, defective or faulty product, service, or contractor—a medicine with an unforeseen side effect, a car door handle that breaks off, a provision violated in the fine print of a banking contract—to pool their resources and force a corporation to address a systematic problem via a substantial monetary settlement.
The purpose of the Wal-Mart suit, the biggest class action suit in history, was to drive a locomotive through the world’s largest public corporation—with as many “victims” on board as possible—rip the heart out of the company, and split the profits during the subsequent looting among the special interest groups that funded and the trial lawyers who prosecuted the suit. A favorable ruling would also set a precedent for doing the same thing to other “exploitative” American companies such as Costco, which currently faces a similar lawsuit.
The court rejected the Wal-Mart suit in a unanimous decision, proving that liberals on the court haven’t gone completely insane. The plaintiffs are still entitled to sue Wal-Mart for individual disputes over pay and promotions, and several plan to do so. But of course that wasn’t enough for the liberal wing of the court.
The four liberals on the court, none of whom would be caught dead in Wal-Mart but three-quarters of whom have vaginas, ruled that the gender discrimination class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart, if tweaked just a bit, would be a splendid idea! (Hey America, how’s that Wise Latina Woman qualification working out?)
The Wal-Mart case resembles what would happen if all of the country’s Asian-American teenagers decided to sue the nation’s public universities for discriminating against them in the college admissions process.
A New York Times op-ed writer somberly noted, “The underlying issue, which the Supreme Court has now ratified, is Wal-Mart’s authoritarian style, by which executives pressure store-level management to squeeze more and more from millions of clerks, stockers and lower-tier managers”—otherwise known as “running a business.”
He continues, “There are tens of thousands of experienced Wal-Mart women who would like to be promoted to the first managerial rung, salaried assistant store manager. But Wal-Mart makes it impossible for many of them to take that post, because its ruthless management style structures the job itself as one that most women, and especially those with young children or a relative to care for, would find difficult to accept.” Yes, Wal-Mart sacrifices millions of dollars in profit to keep those pesky qualified females out of management jobs. That must explain their unrivaled success!
The court—or rather, the conservative majority—ruled similarly in another class action suit against AT&T in April, declaring that the provision in the company’s cell phone contract that plaintiffs must file lawsuits individually and not as a class meant that, um, plaintiffs must file lawsuits individually and not as a class.
In other happy SCOTUS news, the court ruled that megalomaniacally power-hungry states like California and New York cannot force the federal government to adopt kooky, draconian global warming regulations for power plants. Even President Obama—and the liberals on the court—had to side with the defendant on that one.
SCOTUS also recently refused to hear the appeal of ACORN, which demanded that its fine, upstanding reputation for turning away pimps and prostitutes who want to sell underage Guatemalan girls into sexual slavery—not to mention its squeaky clean financial records and sterling reputation on voter registration—should qualify it to receive the federal funds Congress cut off in 2010 after James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles’ sting operation.
Have we left the era of the Supreme Court awarding constitutional rights to non-Geneva Convention-respecting terrorists, affirming the power of the federal government to seize private homes to clear space for shopping malls that never get built, and declaring carbon dioxide a pollutant to be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency?
At this rate, the Supreme Court might actually rule that the federal government’s attempt to force individuals to buy a product from the private market is unconstitutional.