National Civil and Human Rights Coalition:Wal-Mart vs. Dukes Decision Denies Access to Justice for Millions

Media 06.20,11

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling in the Wal-Mart vs. Dukes case:

“Our cherished civil rights laws—such as the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act—are only as effective as the mechanisms in place to enforce them. Today’s 5-4 ruling erects high barriers to access to the courts. As Justice Ginsburg noted in her dissent, the ruling “disqualifies the class at the starting gate,” denying access to justice for the millions of Americans who rely on class actions to enforce the civil rights and anti-discrimination laws our movement has worked so hard to enact.

This is yet another example of the Supreme Court siding with large corporations to limit access to the courts for individuals seeking justice. Those without the means to hire an attorney or pursue a claim rely on class action lawsuits to level the playing field and change the policies and practices of elite corporations.  The court’s sharply divided ruling has made it more difficult for these individuals – and all Americans – to defend themselves against unscrupulous employers, predatory corporations, and discriminatory laws.”

Wade Henderson is president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit