Paula Deen's Legal Team Invokes Supreme

Paula Deen’s attorneys are turning to last week’s Supreme Court ruling in the Proposition 8 case to bolster her argument that one of her former managers doesn’t have standing to sue her and her brother for racial discrimination.

In a filing in federal court in Savannah on Monday, Deen’s legal team cites a paragraph from Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion in the Prop 8 case, in which the majority ruled 5-4 that the defenders of Prop 8 didn’t have standing to pursue the case because they could not prove they have suffered “a concrete and particularized injury.”

“In other words, for a federal court to have authority under the Constitution to settle the dispute, the party before it must seek a remedy for personal and tangible harm,” Roberts wrote.

Her legal team contends that the former manager, Lisa Jackson, lacks standing as she is white yet claims race discrimination and a hostile work environment. They have contended lack of standing numerous times since the case was first filed last year.

Jackson’s attorneys, however, also cite case law to make their case that she was in her rights to file such a suit. The law is clear that such claims may be brought by persons of any race and that such claims include discrimination against white persons who have or desire to have associations with persons of other races…or by those who engage in protected activity on behalf of persons of other races,” her attorneys wr0te in a brief last September.

Deen has lost corporate sponsors in the wake of her admission, during a deposition in the case, that she had used racial epithets. Citing the recent Prop 8 ruling carries P.R. risks that Deen is somehow comparing her own situation to a major civil rights issue, although it is typical in litigation for attorneys to cite recent major decisions to bolster their cases.

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