Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa, 539 U.S. 90, 6 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

Mark J. Ricciardi argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Roger K. Quillen, Paul A. Ades, and Corbett N. Gordon.

Irving L. Gornstein argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae. On the brief were Solicitor General Olson, Assistant Attorneys General McCallum and Boyd, Deputy Solicitor General Clement, Dennis J. Dimsey, and Teresa Kwong.

Robert N. Peccole argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Eric Schnapper.*

Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court. The question before us in this case is whether a plaintiff must present direct evidence of discrimination in order to obtain a mixed-motive instruction under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (1991 Act). We hold that direct evidence is not required.



Since 1964, Title VII has made it an "unlawful employment practice for an employer . . . to discriminate against any indi*Ann Elizabeth Reesman, Katherine Y. K. Cheung, Stephen A. Bokat, and Ellen D. Bryant filed a brief for the Equal Employment Advisory Council et al. as amici curiae urging reversal.

Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations by Jonathan P. Hiatt, James B. Coppess, and Laurence Gold; for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America by Jeffrey L. Needle; for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law et al. by Michael C. Subit, Barbara R. Arnwine, Thomas J. Henderson, Michael L. Foreman, Kristin M. Dadey, Thomas W. Osborne, Laurie A. McCann, Daniel B. Kohrman, Melvin Radowitz, Lenora M. Lapidus, Vincent A. Eng, Judith L. Lichtman, Jocelyn C. Frye, and Dennis C. Hayes; and for Ann B. Hopkins by Douglas B. Huron.

Ronald B. Schwartz and Jenifer Bosco filed a brief for the National Employment Lawyers Association as amicus curiae.

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