Jurisprudence: Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins

In 1989, Ann Hopkins sued Price Waterhouse under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, alleging that Price Waterhouse had denied her the chance of becoming a partner at the firm because she was a woman. Her case traveled all the way to the Supreme Court, where a plurality held that, given a set of both discriminatory and nondiscriminatory factors, an employer does not violate Title VII if it can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it would have made the same employment decision even absent the discriminatory factor. In Bostock v. Clayton County (the case next term for which I will write my own opinion), the employees alleging discrimination make a litany of citations to Hopkins’ case in their briefs—especially its discussion of sex stereotyping under Title VII. Consequently, I take a look at the Supreme Court’s 1989 decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins and assess subsequent legal developments and its relevancy today.

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Death Penalty Jurisprudence: “Panetti v. Quarterman”

Note: In similar fashion to our methods in reviewing Ford v. Wainwright, we will limit our discussion on a number of the points in the Court’s opinion as they do not specifically pertain to our upcoming decision in Madison.


Last month, we reviewed the Supreme Court’s decision in Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986), a capital punishment case from 1986 in which the Court found executing the insane “cruel and unusual” under the Eighth Amendment. Ford is also one of the cases directly referenced in the first question presented in our case for October Term 2018, Madison v. Alabama. The other case implicated in Madison is Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930 (2007), a capital punishment case decided in 2007 that discussed a strikingly similar question to those presented in Madison. As a result, we now review the Supreme Court’s decision in Panetti.Read More »

Death Penalty Jurisprudence: “Ford v. Wainwright”

In keeping with our common-law judicial system, it would be prudent to review a few of the Supreme Court’s prior cases that discuss executions of those suffering from mental conditions and/or those whose competency to be executed is in question. Indeed, in Madison v. Alabama, the first question presented before the court directly references two such cases (Ford v. Wainwright and Panetti v. Quarterman) and asks whether executing Mr. Madison comports with the Court’s decisions in those two cases. Thus, the first of these cases we will review is Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986). In short, Ford discussed whether executing a prisoner who is insane violates the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause.Read More »