Have Knowledge, Will Travel: Professor Suzette Malveaux
Speaks with Media in Wake of Wal-Mart Supreme Court Decision
News producers spent some time looking up Catholic University law professor Suzette Malveaux’s contact information in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic Wal-Mart ruling on June 20.
Malveaux has written and spoken extensively about the massive class action case in the past, and was again in demand as a commentator and analyst, assessing what lay behind the court’s reasoning in refusing to allow the case to proceed.
She appeared live on PBS Newshour, answering questions from host Jeffrey Brown.
“Because the court didn't say anything about there being gender discrimination, there was no ruling as far as that is concerned. All of the women are free to bring individual cases,” Malveaux said. “Now, the problem is, for many people, they don't have the resources to do that. They may be very skittish about challenging their employer, especially at a time like this with this economy. It takes a lot of courage to sue your employer and keep your job.”
Earlier in the day, she stopped by CNN’s studios to discuss the case just minutes after the high court’s decision was released. Malveaux was also asked to contribute to an online discussion of the ruling hosted by the New York Times. Her comments were also syndicated by the McClatchy Newspaper chain and appeared in such news outlets as The Republic of Columbus, Indiana.
Further media outreach included Al Jazeera television and an interview with Congressional Quarterly. An open media conference call that was organized by the American Constitution Society disseminated Malveaux's comments even more widely in newspapers across the country, as well as legal blogs.
Malveaux is the author of "Class Actions at the Crossroads: An Answer to Wal-Mart v. Dukes," an article published recently in Harvard Law and Policy Review, and also worked on aspects of the case while in private practice prior to teaching.
A skilled commentator, she was interviewed extensively when Wal-Mart v. Dukes was argued before the United State Supreme Court on March 29, 2011. Malveaux watched the oral arguments live in the Supreme Court, and then spent much of the rest of the week helping to explain and interpret the intricacies of the case to the public.
The case alleged bias against women in paychecks and promotions, and was potentially the largest employment discrimination class action suit in U.S. history, representing about 1.5 million women.