Schnapper would never advise a client not to take a discrimination case to the Supreme Court. In fact, Schnapper maintains that the Supreme Court is “more favorable than some circuits.” But he also recognizes some cases, especially those involving retaliation, must be brought to the high court.
Over the next few months Schnapper will argue three cases -- a record even for this University of Washington Law School professor who has argued before the Supreme Court since 1972. This Supreme Court schedule has also earned him the Appellate Lawyer of the Week designation from The National Law Journal.
But what makes Schnapper different from other pro bono attorneys fighting for the rights of their wrongly dismissed clients is his purposeful support of the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
In Staub v. Proctor Hospital represents Illinois radiologist Vincent Staub who maintains that his supervisors fired him because in their opinion his Army reserve duties took an inordinate amount of time away from his job.
In Thompson v. North American Stainless the employee claims that he was fired in order to punish his fiancé who had filed a sexual discrimination complaint.
The last case to be argued in February 2011, Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri , concerns a government employee who in February 2003 was dismissed from his position as Chief of Police. After two years he was reinstated to his position as Chief. But on his first day back, in January 2005, the Council issued eleven “directives” to Guarnieri. They are also may have delayed his healthcare benefits and withheld overtime according to court documents.
Schnapper works pro bono thanks to the flexibility of his position at the University of Washington School of law. Clients find him through word of mouth. Of course forty years of experience, including representation of Bobby Seale, one of the Chicago 7 defendants, gives him superiority arguing before the Supreme Court and a reputation for careful preparation and understanding his clients’ struggles.