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Monday round-up

This weekend’s coverage focused on last week’s decision in Connick v. Thompson and last week’s oral argument in Wal-Mart v. Dukes.  In Connick, the Court held that a district attorney’s office could not be held liable under Section 1983 for a failure to train its prosecutors based on a single Brady violation.  Kenneth Jost of Jost on Justice criticizes the decision, writing that “[t]he court has already given individual prosecutors virtually absolute immunity for rights violations during trials. With this ruling, those responsible for guarding against prosecutorial misconduct are largely protected from legal liability as well.”  Dahlia Lithwick makes a similar point at Slate, as does Brandon Garrett at ACSblog.  In her story at NPR, Nina Totenberg interviews both parties to the case.  In the Los Angeles Times, David Savage notes that, in his concurring opinion in Connick, Justice Scalia cited the Court’s 1988 decision in Arizona v. Youngblood, in which it held that police have no duty to preserve potentially useful evidence.

Michael Kirkland of UPI discusses last week’s oral argument in Wal-Mart and predicts not only that the class of female employees will “be struck down by at least a 5-4 vote,” but also that “a larger margin . . . is certainly within the realm of possibility.”  In the New York Times, Adam Liptak asks whether “a class-action lawsuit [can] be too sprawling to deliver old-fashioned justice,” and discusses the state of class litigation with several professors.  At Dorf on Law, Mike Dorf argues that the status of disparate impact claims under Title VII is “an ambiguity in anti-discrimination law” at the heart of the case.  At the New Republic, Chloe Schama focuses on the plaintiffs’ substantive claims of gender discrimination, which she describes as “the core substantive issue in the case.”  The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times responds to a comment of Justice Kennedy’s at oral argument, writing that “the contradiction [between claims of systematic discrimination and Wal-Mart’s policy of local managerial control] is more apparent than real: It is possible both that Wal-Mart encouraged a culture of discrimination and that it neglected to monitor practices at its regional outlets.”


  • In the Wall Street Journal, Carl Bialik writes about statistical significance and Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v. Siracusano, in which the Court held that plaintiffs can state a claim for securities fraud under § 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act and SEC Rule 10b-5 based on a pharmaceutical company’s failure to disclose reports of adverse events associated with a product, even if the reports do not disclose a statistically significant number of adverse events.  Bialik discusses the scientific debate over the meaning of statistical significance; he expands on his discussion in a related post.
  • The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports on Astra USA, Inc. v. Santa Clara County, in which a unanimous Court ruled that public hospitals and community health centers may not bring lawsuits against drug manufacturers alleging that they have been overcharged for the drugs purchased from the manufacturers pursuant to a federal program.
  • The Los Angeles Times reports on an event held at Pepperdine University, at which legal scholars gathered to discuss the Court’s worst decisions.
  • NPR’s On the Media interviews Adam Liptak about Citizens United and the Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence.

Recommended Citation: James Bickford, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 4, 2011, 8:52 AM),