Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SCOTUS With A Conscience?

So, everyone's all abuzz with the Supreme Court decisions yesterday:

The New York Times and Washington Post lead with the Supreme Court ruling that federal civil rights laws that protect workers against discrimination also cover those who faced retaliation for complaining about bias in the workplace. The Los Angeles Times devotes its top nonlocal spot to the twin decisions that said workers, including federal employees, are protected from retaliation, even if the federal laws don't explicitly say so. The majority in the 7-2 and 6-3 decisions emphasized that the justices relied on Supreme Court precedent that had previously found an implied right to sue for retaliation. The decisions don't really change the broad outlines of employment law, but they were somewhat surprising coming from a Supreme Court that had been keeping itself busy by issuing a series of pro-business rulings and limiting the rights of workers.
Aside from the decision itself, which appears to be blatant common sense on the face, the buzz is that it wasn't a 5-4 decision or worse. Gee, I wonder who the dissenters were?

Roberts sided with the majority to protect workers. Yes, this is decidedly different from his past opinions. But folks, don't bet the farm on this being any kind of harbinger of future decisions. Like a stopped watch that is right twice a day, even a pro-business conservative will throw the poor working schmucks a bone once in awhile.

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