The U.S. Supreme Court has remanded on Equal Pay Act case, including the death of the 9th U.S.
Justice Stephen Reinhardt died on March 29, 2018, before April 9, 2018, and banc opinion in Aileen Rizo v. Jim Yovino, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools was issued by the San Francisco-based appeals court
Ms. Rizo, a math consultant for the Fresno County, California, schools charged she was given a starting salary less than a male math consultant who had been hired.  The 9th Circuit's strongly worded opinion in the case in Ms. Rizo's favor replaced in April 2017 by a three-judge 9th Circuit panel and affirmed by a U.S. District Court in Fresno that denied Fresno County summary judgment in the case.
In its unsigned ruling, the Supreme Court said, "By counting Judge Reinhardt's vote, the court deemed Judge Reinhardt's opinion To be a majority opinion, which means that it constitutes a precedent that all future Ninth Circuit panels must follow. "" Without Judge Reinhardt's vote, the opinion attributed to him would have been approved by only 5 of the 10 members of the en banc panel that were still living when the decision was filed. Although the other five living judges concurred in the judgment, they did so for different reasons. The upshot is that Judge Reinhardt's vote made a difference. ”
The ruling said the 9th Circuit did not“ expressly explain ”why it counted Judge Reinhardt's opinion, but said a footnote suggests it is because the votes and opinions in the case were
"This justification is inconsistent with well-established judicial practice, federal statutory law, and judicial precedent," said the ruling. allowed a deceased to exercise the judicial power of the United States after his death. But federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity,
Daniel M. Siegel, an attorney with Siegel, Yee & Brunner in Oakland, California, who represented Ms. Rizo in the case, said he was disappointed by the ruling.
The court "clarified the law on the issue, but in doing so it eliminated what I thought was an excellent decision at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and leaves the law somewhat in limbo."
Mr. Siegel said the 9th Circuit's options now include simply issuing a new judgment with the 10 remaining, living, judges, ”which would mean the lower court decision is still affirmed, and the 9th Circuit's previous decision is overturned.”
“That would mean, at least in terms of our case, we would go forward in federal court in Fresno with Ms. Rizo's case and take it to trial. ”
They could do that with or without further argument, or argument, for that matter, ”said Mr. Siegel.
Mr. Siegel, who said he was unsure which option the court would choose, added, "Ultimately, the result for Ms. Rizo will not change. But what might change is whether there is a clear 9th Circuit opinion as to why it's improper for employers to use as the sole basis for setting an employee's new salary. ”
The school district's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.