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October 25, 2013

Appellate Courts Ignoring SCOTUS Precedent

Lower courts are locked in a “war of attrition” against the Supreme Court, says a Wall Street Journal editorial.

The latest salvo came when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals certified a gender-discrimination suit against Family Dollar, despite clear rules for class certification set by the Supreme Court’s Dukes v. Wal-Mart decision that would make the class impermissible.

The Family Dollar case is far from the only example. Appellate courts have disregarded the Supremes’ class action certification guidelines in suits against Whirlpool and Sears. In fact, the lower courts simply reinstated their previous decisions after the High Court remanded them.

The Journal warns that trend could continue, especially if the makeup of the court changes:

Consider this disdain for precedent a preview if Mr. Obama gets a new majority on the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts and his colleagues need to deliver some remedial instruction in class-action law and legal hierarchy.

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