The saga of Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the largest class-action discrimination lawsuit in history, came to a close todaywhen the Supreme Court ruled that the lawsuit could not proceed. The suit, brought on behalf of 1.6 million female Wal-Mart employees who faced discrimination in hiring or promotions, was dismissed because it failed to target a specific policy or common standard that connected the alleged discrimination at Wal-Mart’s 3,200 nationwide stores.
Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, focused on the “commonality” requirement of Rule 23(a), saying that an employer could not be sued for thousands of adverse employment decisions nationwide “some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together.” Parts I and III of Scalia’s opinion garnered unanimous 9-0 support. However, Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor, strongly dissented against Part II of Scalia’s opinion. While the majority considered and dismissed all theories for certifying the suit, Ginsburg’s dissent would have remanded the plaintiff’s alternative certification claim for further consideration in the lower courts.
The full opinion is available online at the Supreme Court’s website.