Wal-Mart still lags behind promoting women at the same rate as men when measured against the national reality, which shows that females now, according to some accounts, make up 51 percent of all supervisors — as they make up 51 percent of the population.

There is, of course, no denying that Wal-Mart has improved its track record. But there is also no denying that it did so because of the pressure brought to bear by the women's lawsuit.

In other words, when Wal-Mart's corporate overlords saw it was in their interest to keep labor costs down by allowing local managers maximum flexibility, that was the order of the day. When they realized their potential exposure to legal damages, they began to cultivate policies more favorable to women. It was all about cost efficiency, not equity.

Now, thanks to Scalia and his fellow Republican judges, actions such as the Wal-Mart case will not be impossible, but they will be more difficult to bring.

Once again, corporate America, with Wal-Mart as its stalking horse, has succeeded in doing as little as possible in the short term to help workers, while preserving in the long term its ability to exploit those who toil for low wages.

And, as a bonus, nobody has to make good for past transgressions.

Many wags have cracked that Scalia's Dukes decision proves that Wal-Mart is "too big to sue."

If only that were the sum of it. This decision further insulates big business for having to face responsibility for bad decision that help them make more money by exploitation.

Once again, the few have profited on the backs of the many.

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