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Classical 101

Supreme Court Justice Cites Classical Music Study in Wal-Mart Case

Who says classical music doesn't have anything to do with the real world? The art form made its way recently into one U.S. Supreme Court justice's dissenting opinion in a case that could now be viewed as a setback for women's employment rights. In a 5-4 decision (PDF) handed down last Monday, the court threw out Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the focal point of which had been the issue of gender discrimination in employment-related matters at the big box chain. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited a landmark employment equity study that showed how women gained a secure foothold in the once male-dominated world of orchestral playing. That study, "Orchestrating Impartiality," published in the American Economic Review by Claudia Goldin and Cecilia Rouse in September 2000 (PDF),  showed that only after a system of "blind" auditions was put in place, in which the identity of the players auditioning was concealed behind an opaque screen and had replaced good-old-boy networking, did women make headway in securing jobs for themselves. Read more: "High Court Hits a Sour Note on Wal-Mart Case" (TriCities.com)