Franklin Strier: Shaky Future For Class Action Suits in Conservative Supreme Court

Franklin Strier, emeritus professor of business law

Franklin Strier, emeritus professor of business law

Franklin Strier had his editorial, “Don’t deny justice to everyday folks; Supreme Court will hear two class action suits that may affect this legal avenue” published in Newsday in January. The emeritus professor of business law states that while class action suits have been an “iconic instrument of socio-economic justice,” they may be an endangered species in the face of two major cases about to be heard by the Supreme Court: Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, which is brought by 1.5 million past and present female employees of the retailer who claim gender-based pay and promotion discrimination; and AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, composed of customers who allege that the company’s ads promising “free” cell phones were fraudulent because each buyer had to pay $30 for sales tax.

Strier says that while the law is sufficiently flexible in interpretation toward either side, the five-member conservative majority of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts may be a strike against such cases.

“When decision after decision favors business, obvious inferences are drawable,” says Strier. “In some cases, as with gun control and the Second Amendment, the law is fairly rigid. Yet the Roberts Court has often come up with tortured reasoning to support its rulings. And since they are the Supreme Court, there is typically no other recourse.”

Strier is the author of two books on the legal system, “Reconstructing Justice,” released by the University of Chicago Press, and “The Adversary System,” published by Fred B. Rothman & Co. He is currently writing a book about the Roberts Supreme Court.

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  1. Roberto Vazquez says:

    Professor Strier,
    I echo Dr. Stricker’s words … also, kudos on the Newsday piece …

    Sir, as a grad student in the NCRP program here at CSUDH, I’d love to see you teach a hybrid course that included business law, the adversary system, and socio-economic justice.

    In general, it seems to me that labor and the public interest will continue to be on the losing side of Supreme Court rulings, so long as John Roberts is Chief Justice. I believe our NCRP graduate & undergraduate programs could benefit from your expertise in these three areas of law.
    In light of the questionable Roberts Supreme Court decisions, it seems to me that it is imperative we, as a nation, find alternative solutions to resolving conflict and rendering justice. Unfortunately for all of us, we can’t count on the Supreme Court to do the right thing any longer.

    Hope to see you on campus,

    Roberto Vazquez

  2. Way to go, Frank. I couldn’t agree more, but you put it with more authority than I could. I am esp. ticked at Wal-Mart who, I think, were claiming that they could not afford to respond to a class action suit, and, I think also, that their stores are independent in some way.
    Your evil twin.

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