Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa, 539 U.S. 90 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

the utility of circumstantial evidence in discrimination cases. For instance, in Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U. S. 133 (2000), we recognized that evidence that a defendant's explanation for an employment practice is "un-worthy of credence" is "one form of circumstantial evidence that is probative of intentional discrimination." Id., at 147 (emphasis added). The reason for treating circumstantial and direct evidence alike is both clear and deep rooted: "Circumstantial evidence is not only sufficient, but may also be more certain, satisfying and persuasive than direct evidence." Rogers v. Missouri Pacific R. Co., 352 U. S. 500, 508, n. 17 (1957).

The adequacy of circumstantial evidence also extends beyond civil cases; we have never questioned the sufficiency of circumstantial evidence in support of a criminal conviction, even though proof beyond a reasonable doubt is required. See Holland v. United States, 348 U. S. 121, 140 (1954) (observing that, in criminal cases, circumstantial evidence is "intrinsically no different from testimonial evidence"). And juries are routinely instructed that "[t]he law makes no distinction between the weight or value to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence." 1A K. O'Malley, J. Grenig, & W. Lee, Federal Jury Practice and Instructions, Criminal 12.04 (5th ed. 2000); see also 4 L. Sand, J. Siffert, W. Loughlin, S. Reiss, & N. Batterman, Modern Federal Jury Instructions ¶ 74.01 (2002) (model instruction 74-2). It is not surprising, therefore, that neither petitioner nor its amici curiae can point to any other circumstance in which we have restricted a litigant to the presentation of direct evidence absent some affirmative directive in a statute. Tr. of Oral Arg. 13.

Finally, the use of the term "demonstrates" in other provisions of Title VII tends to show further that 2000e-2(m) does not incorporate a direct evidence requirement. See, e. g., 42 U. S. C. 2000e-2(k)(1)(A)(i), 2000e-5(g)(2)(B). For instance, 2000e-5(g)(2)(B) requires an employer to "demon-

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