Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Age Discrimination at the Highest Levels in Oklahoma

If the suit hadn't been filed last week, we might could have chalked it up to just "the day after" reaction to the Orange Bowl. But we will have to find another reason for Justice Marian P. Opala's federal court complaint against his fellow justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court alleging they have discriminated against him on the basis of his age by denying him the "ceremonial duties" and slightly higher salary of being Chief Justice. The NYT has the story, Oklahoma Judge, 83, Files Bias Suit Against Colleagues.

Probably better to leave it to the academics, rather than practicing lawyers to expound on the claim. Starting with fellow blogger Professor Volokh to say what many must be thinking about Justice Opala's claim based on the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution -- it is "very, very weak." Or there's also Professor Deborah L. Rhode's view, "The court has an interest in ensuring that the role is filled by someone of exemplary judgment, temperament and related capacities. These do not appear in abundant supply in this particular case."

Professor Volokh is at UCLA and Professor Rhode at Stanford. Hmm, two California schools in the Pac 10. Maybe there is an Orange bowl connection after all!

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