Yesterday, we reported on an antitrust case that took an odd turn. The case may not initially strike us as the stuff of social justice: two multibillion dollar companies fighting over potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue while paying multimillion dollar law firms millions of dollars to do it. But in the blink of an eye, the lawyers went from talking about "unfair competition" to talking about "antigay discrimination."
The case revolves around the price of an HIV drug and whether one company's decision to quadruple the drug's price violates unfair competition laws. At jury selection time, one of the attorneys used his right to exclude certain members from the jury pool to, ostensibly, exclude a gay person. We don't know for sure that this is what happened; these are allegations and proof is always hard to come by in these circumstances. But if the allegations are true, the act is troubling, at best: the lawyer was suggesting that a gay person cannot be impartial in a case involving an AIDS drug.
The case now asks: Can a person be excluded from a jury simply because of his or her sexual orientation? The answer's importance extends beyond the narrow confines of the jury room. It reminds me of the Prop 8 proponents' distasteful motion to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's decision declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional because he is gay and was at the time of the case in a long term same-sex relationship.
It speaks to the concept of identity in law and the status of gay persons in modern American society. It also shows what we won -- and what we didn't -- in the Supreme Court's recent marriage equality cases.
AFTER THE JUMP, I explain what happened in the antitrust case and relate it back to major legal questions in LGBT law.
CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...