We just learned, via the SCOTUSblog liveblog of today’s proceedings at the Supreme Court, that Wal-Mart v. Dukes has been decided. Here is some background about the case, one of the most closely watched of this Term, and here is the opinion of the Court.
Justice Scalia wrote the opinion of the Court, which was joined in its entirety by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito. SCOTUS reversed the Ninth Circuit and held that class action certification should not have been granted in this case, brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of female Wal-Mart employees who alleged a pattern and practice of pay and promotion discrimination by the giant retailer.
Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, which was joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. What did RBG have to say?
Justice Ginsburg agreed that the class action certification in this case should not have been granted — indeed, the Court was unanimous on that score — but she would have ruled on a narrower ground than the majority. In Justice Ginsburg’s view, the class action “should not have been certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2),” but “[a] putative class of this type may be certifiable under Rule 23(b)(3).”
(You can read more analysis of the opinion from Josh Blackman, who is super-quick about digesting lengthy SCOTUS opinions.)
Congratulations to star litigator Ted Boutrous, who argued the case for longtime client Wal-Mart, and the rest of Boutrous’s team at Gibson Dunn, which included “the other Ted” — in this case, Ted Olson.
UPDATE (6/21/11): Here is the outcome of Ted Frank’s Wal-Mart wager.