15 October 2013

Law in Plain English: Madigan v. Levin

This is one in a series of posts designed to describe court decisions in plain English. For more detail and background on the legal issues, see the link to the case below. For similar posts, click here.

SCOTUSblogMadigan v. Levin

Argument: Oct 7 2013 (Aud.)

Discussion: Levin worked as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General until he was terminated in 2006. He filed a lawsuit alleging age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment via 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Madigan (the Attorney General of Illinois) argued that Levin's 1983 claim is precluded by the ADEA because the ADEA is the exclusive remedy for age discrimination claim. The District Court ruled that Levin's 1983 claim could preceed and the Seventh Circuit agreed, finding that nothing in the text of ADEA expressly precluded a 1983 claim, and that the rights protected by ADEA and § 1983 were sufficiently different to allow the 1983 claim.

Issue: The question before the Court was whether the Seventh Circuit erred in holding, in an acknowledged departure from the rule in at least four other circuits, that state and local government employees may avoid the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act’s comprehensive remedial regime by bringing age discrimination claims directly under the Equal Protection Clause and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Holding:The Supreme Court dismissed the writ of ceriorari as improvidently granted. A "DIG" is essentially the Court saying that it should not have accepted the case.
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