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Supremes Throw Out Equal Pay Ruling After Lower Judges Death

The Supremes vacated the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in a dispute over equal pay which justices ruled employers can’t use prior salaries of a worker to justify paying women less than men.

The ruling vacates a major decision from the 9th Circuit on equal pay in a case centered on a California teacher who sued her superintendent of schools after she realized she was being paid less than her colleagues.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt died 11 days before the decision was issued and counted his vote to a majority.

“That practice effectively allowed a deceased judge to exercise the judicial power of the United States after his death. But federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity,” the High Court said on Monday.

In the majority ruling, Reinhardt had said that prior salary is not job-related and perpetuates the very gender-based assumptions about the value of work that the Equal Pay Act was designed to end.

The case now goes back to the 9th Circuit to be reconsidered without Reinhardt.

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