Home / General / Jim Crow Returns To 11CA

Jim Crow Returns To 11CA


Ah, the American judicial system.   An employer engages in racial discrimination sufficiently egregious that an Alabama jury find it illegal.     The 11th Circuit throws out the verdict.    Its reasoning is so specious that a unanimous Supreme Court rejects it.  Another jury finds the discrimination illegal.    In the finest Jim Crow traditions, 11CA once again decides to interpose itself between federal civil rights law and a plaintiff’s rights, throwing out the verdict again.    Sometimes it can be hard to see the progress…

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  • Daragh McDowell

    So where does it go from here? Surely at some point the 11CA just gets overruled by the Supremes once again and has to go sit in the corner and suck eggs right? RIGHT?

    God its not even 2 o’clock and already I need a drink…

  • DrDick

    How many Republican appointees on the 11CA?

  • dave

    How many jury verdicts awarding the same amount of damages does it take before a court will believe that a “reasonable jury” could find as these juries did?

  • dave

    Lets just make every case a best of seven series. So the plaintiff is up 2-0. Let’s see how the next two trials go.

  • Sebastian Dangerfield

    Um, Jim Crow arguably never left the 11th Circuit.

    As you know, one of the issues in this case was whether a white superior’s having referred to his black subordinate as “boy” was evidence of racial animus. In the first round, the 11th Circuit held that the word “boy” could only be considered to have racial connotations if it has a racial adjective attached, such as “black boy.” that was one of the pieces of blinkered idiocy that was too blinkered for the Roberts Court.

    As it turns out, the 11th Circuit has a whole jurisprudence of denial on this issue. Witness Alexander v. Opelika City Schools, wherein a white supervisor’s having referred to his black subordinate as “boy” eight times was held to be insufficient evidence of discriminatory animus.

    The judges of the court seem to believe that if they just designates these opinions as “unpublished,” nobody will notice their white hoods.

    • Socraticsilence

      Hey now ‘boy’ could simply mean um, that the Black guy was younger? No, really though its a bit much when Clarence freaking Thomas thinks something’s racist and you don’t see any problem with it.

      • Socraticsilence

        Though I would note that in the case you cited one could argue that the lack of actual noticable harms (other than a possible hostile work environment- something that I’m not sure has a huge history of being adjudicated in racial issues)- could be the the reasoning of the court, unlike the original case where the plaintiff suffered noticable injury.

  • Socraticsilence

    Normally, I get how nominally absurd rulings can result from an alternative interpetation of precedent, or an idiotic judicial philosophy- but seriously this is asinine “the usage of the term ‘boy’ was merely conversational” how on freaking earth can they say that with a straight face- I mean its ludicrious on the merits- I would literally pay money to see one of the fine gentlemen on th 11th leave their Buckhead mansions go into downtown Atlanta and start calling the adult male residents “boy” you know since its simply conversational and as such would in no way arouse anger– even better would be them trying to do the same to Clarence Thomas- no doubt “one of the good ones” in their minds, somehow I don’t see even the silent Justice letting that go without comment. (As an aside- seriously if Ginsburg and Thomas both agree something’s racially insensitive can’t we pretty much just rule it as being such I mean good god Thomas would probably let Walmart pay Black people 3 bucks less an hour under the guise of ‘market value’ but even he has his limits.

  • Rob

    Yes the 11CA is terrible, but something must be said about Tyson who continues to appeal this. You know they’ve had to spend much more dealing with this case than any judgement would cost them. Is Tyson just evil, has a whole bunch of other discrimination cases they are trying to bury (hence evil again) or has it gone so far that now its all about winning?

    Of course in Libertania Tyson’s racist policies would cause a consumer backlash and so they would never harbor racist supervisors..

    • Tyson is the largest polluter of streams, etc in the US? I believe so; but if not they’re within striking distance of the top. Yes, they are evil, because evil makes more money than anything else. Also see Cheney, Richard Aka Dickhead. On another level, if you live in most of the US and do not have an infinite food budget and staff to seek out your foods, avoiding Tyson products is hard. The obvious branded crap is easy, but they sell to so many middlemen, and the crap winds up widely spread.

    • BigHank53

      No, Tyson is pretty much evil. Hiring of illegal immigrants, violating labor laws, turning their suppliers of chicken into sharecroppers, etc.

      The chicken itself is tasteless garbage as well, if that matters to you.

    • NonyNony

      Tyson isn’t any more or less evil than most companies. The law pretty much encourages companies to race for the bottom when it comes to everything. The companies that don’t do “evil” things tend to be privately held companies who are small enough to not have that kind of impact and whose “CEOs” (or owners in most cases) have to live in the place impacted by their company. Any company larger than that will eventually move into the “evil” category – especially the publicly traded ones.

      I imagine Tyson is fighting this because they know that if the precedent gets set they’re going to be paying out a lot for other cases that haven’t been filed yet. And that the CEO’s buddies are going to be paying out too. Guys at corps that large often do things that look insane to shareholders and outside observers but make sense once you realize that they’re taking a political stance on behalf of big businesses as a whole and not just for their own company (of course that’s a good way to find yourself on the receiving end of a shareholder lawsuit, so they don’t make it explicit that that’s what they’re doing. But suspect that’s what’s going on here as well.)

      • Murc

        Something to keep in mind is that publicly held companies are LEGALLY OBLIGATED to be evil. If you have the option to do something that, while evil, is both legal and will increase shareholder value, and you chose NOT to do it, you’ve violated your legal duty to said shareholders (who come first) and can be sued and/or removed from your position.

        (Devil’s advocate note: such laws always help prevent to an extent enterprises from deliberately defrauding or otherwise soaking their own shareholders and riding off laughing.)

        • Murc

          ‘ALSO help prevent’. Not always. I are dumb.

        • Sophia

          I don’t have a case on point at the ready, but I’d think the business judgment rule would buy you some wiggle room in the not doing evil even when it’s legal/profitable department.

        • Walt

          I don’t believe this, though CEOs and Republicans would like us to think so. Has there ever been a case where shareholders have successfully sued a company for being insufficiently evil?

          • Mary Rosh

            wasn’t this the whole point (or at least a major point) of the hostile takeovers during the 1980s?

  • James E. Powell

    Not to discount the Jim Crow attitude of the court, but how much of this is the result of the “employers always win” rule?

    As the saying goes, elections have consequences. And the party that gets to populate the circuit courts, and the senators that control the appointments to the district courts and appellate courts in their respective states, have a tremendous impact on how federal policies are applied and federal constitutional issues are resolved.

    • NonyNony

      Not to discount the Jim Crow attitude of the court, but how much of this is the result of the “employers always win” rule?

      I might believe that if the Supreme Court had not handed it back to them with a unanimous decision telling them to cut it out.

      As Socraticsilence says above – Clarence Thomas is saying it’s racist and not “the employer is always right”. That means something.

      (Not being a lawyer – the NYTimes piece says that the decision is “unsigned” by the judges. Is that typical? Or is that somehow saying that they don’t want their names publicly associated with the ruling? I don’t have the context to know what that means and my google-fu is failing).

      • Murc

        IANAL, but to the best of my knowledge, Nony, an opinion is typically issued unsigned where there is unanimity of agreement AND none of the judges involved really feels the need to expand on any of the points made or to particularly emphasize any aspect of it.

        It’s basically an authoritative thing, is how I see it. ‘This ruling is such a slam dunk that the Court speaks with one voice and one intent on this matter; our signatures are irrelevant, you may consider it having been authored and endorsed by ALL of us and bearing the imprimatur of the institution as a whole.’

        • Dave W.

          I could believe that, but in this case it was apparently a 2-1 decision, so hardly a slam-dunk. An unsigned 2-1 decision.

          • Murc

            Wait, hold on. Are we talking about the Supreme Court or the circuit court now? The Supreme Court handed this back unanimously and unsigned, yes? (The article is behind the Times wall now, and I don’t care to sign up for it.)

            If the Circuit Court handed back a 2-1 UNSIGNED decision, that leaves me BAFFLED. There was a dissent! How do you not sign that? What the hell.

            • DocAmazing

              Well, do you want the gas line to your house cut? The dissenting judge apparently does not…

              • Anderson

                Not sure what op y’all are looking at. The dissent was signed by Judge Dowd, a trial judge guest-starring on the panel (as routinely happens).

                N.b. that Dowd is from Ohio.

                I used to have some respect for Ed Carnes, one of the 11th Circuit judges on the panel, but not any more. Cracker trash.

  • Davis X. Machina

    An employer engages in racial discrimination sufficiently egregious that an Alabama jury find it illegal.

    This is the part that I can’t get past. I can see some Alabama juries being cool with employment discrimination up to and including mandatory employee group sings of ‘Strange Fruit’

  • JR in WV

    I’m from W Va, and this is unbelievable! No WAY this isn’t open, obvious racism.

    I can’t believe the Circuit Court does is a second time. The Supremes should just reverse the Circuit, and award the plaintiff like a million $ from each member of the court that ruled that stupidly. That would get their attention. Maybe.

  • Red Jenny

    Are any distinguished members of the Paul family judges on that court?

  • David Nieporent

    It will surprise nobody familiar with Scott’s approach to discussing litigation to learn that his description of the factual and procedural history of this case bears no relation to the actual factual and procedural history of this case.

    The Eleventh Circuit actually ruled in favor of the employee on several occasions, overturning decisions favorable to the employer by the district court. And the Supreme Court did not find the circuit court’s ultimate ruling to be wrong; it simply rejected the legal test applied by the Eleventh Circuit and remanded.

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