Commentary on Desert Palace v. Costa

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Ann C. McGinley and Nicole Buonocore Porter




Cambridge University Press




Chapter 2 demonstrates how the US Supreme Court could have used the feminist technique of storytelling by rewriting Desert Palace v. Costa from the perspective of the plaintiff, who received a jury verdict in her favor in the district court. The feminist judgment corrects the Supreme Court’s willingness to allow the defendant to write the plaintiff’s story by detailing the egregious facts in the case that shed light on the gendered treatment she suffered – treatment that included repeated severely hostile behaviors among her coworkers and differential treatment by her supervisors. The rewritten opinion gives the reader a significantly different view of the case from that offered by the original opinion. The rewritten opinion demonstrates that the feminist method of storytelling illuminates the ways in which the facts occurred in the real world, and in doing so creates a counterbalance to the supposedly “neutral” and “objective” view that the Court originally presented.

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