Cite as: 540 U. S. 581 (2004)
Opinion of the Court
the faltering worker] would not have figured in this decision, and the attendant stigma would not ensue," id., at 612. And we have relied on this same reading of the statute in other cases. See, e. g., O'Connor, 517 U. S., at 313 ("Because the ADEA prohibits discrimination on the basis of age . . . the fact that a replacement is substantially younger than the plaintiff is a . . . reliable indicator of age discrimination"); Western Air Lines, Inc. v. Criswell, 472 U. S. 400, 409 (1985) ("[T]he legislative history of the ADEA . . . repeatedly emphasize[s that] the process of psychological and physiological degeneration caused by aging varies with each individual"). While none of these cases directly addresses the question presented here, all of them show our consistent understanding that the text, structure, and history point to the ADEA as a remedy for unfair preference based on relative youth, leaving complaints of the relatively young outside the statutory concern.
The Courts of Appeals and the District Courts have read the law the same way, and prior to this case have enjoyed virtually unanimous accord in understanding the ADEA to forbid only discrimination preferring young to old. So the Seventh Circuit held in Hamilton, and the First Circuit said in Schuler, and so the District Courts have ruled in cases too numerous for citation here in the text.6 The very
6 See Lawrence v. Irondequoit, 246 F. Supp. 2d 150, 161 (WDNY 2002) (following Hamilton); Greer v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 85 FEP Cases 416, 419 (SDNY 2001) (noting unanimity of the courts); Dittman v. General Motors Corp.-Delco Chassis Div., 941 F. Supp. 284, 286- 287 (Conn. 1996) (alternative holding) (following Hamilton); Parker v. Wakelin, 882 F. Supp. 1131, 1140 (Me. 1995) ("The ADEA has never been construed to permit younger persons to claim discrimination against them in favor of older persons"); Wehrly v. American Motors Sales Corp., 678 F. Supp. 1366, 1382 (ND Ind. 1988) (following Karlen v. City Colleges of Chicago, 837 F. 2d 314, 318 (CA7), cert. denied sub nom. Teachers v. City Colleges of Chicago, 486 U. S. 1044 (1988)). The only case we have found arguably to the contrary is Mississippi Power & Light Co. v. Local Union
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