Yesterday, in a landmark opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that employers can be sued for discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation. But this laudable ruling, which most likely sets the stage for a future Supreme Court showdown, comes as the Supreme Court seems poised to add a new and ultraconservative justice to its ranks: Neil Gorsuch.
Writing for the court in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Chief Judge Diane Wood concluded that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination” and, therefore, unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the civil rights statute that protects against discrimination in the workplace based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”). Chief Judge Wood’s opinion was joined by seven members of the eleven-judge panel. Of the eight judges in the majority, Republican presidents appointed five. Judge Diane Sykes, who was on President Trump’s short list for potential nominees to the Supreme Court, dissented. Read more