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  • Supreme Court Reverses Equal Pay Case

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    March 01, 2019

    Judges Cannot Adjudicate From Beyond the Grave

    The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed a Ninth Circuit court case because the judge who wrote the opinion died before the opinion was issued and, therefore, his vote on the opinion could not be counted. In the now-reversed case, the Ninth Circuit had held that, under the federal Equal Pay Act, prior salary, whether alone or in combination with other factors, cannot justify a wage differential (Rizo v. Yovino, 887 F.3d 453 (9th Cir. 2018)).

    An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit decided the case on April 9, 2018. Ten judges were on the panel and five of them joined the opinion written by the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt, creating a majority. However, after writing the majority opinion but before the court issued the decision, Judge Reinhardt passed away.

    The question before the U.S. Supreme Court was whether the Ninth Circuit could count Judge Reinhardt’s vote towards the majority opinion when he was not living at the time the opinion was issued.  Read More