The Intersection of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure: Review of Wholesale Justice—Constitutional Democracy and the Problem of the Class Action Lawsuit (Part II)

Douglas G. Smith | April 5, 2010

In the first portion of this Essay, I reviewed Professor Martin Redish’s theory that the application of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 in modern class action practice is unconstitutional. Professor Redish argues that modern class action procedures violate absent class members’ due process rights by sweeping large numbers of individual plaintiffs into litigation without their explicit consent. I then set forth Professor Redish’s proposals for reform, including increased scrutiny of class actions to weed out “faux” class actions that benefit lawyers but not class members, abandonment of the opt-out procedure under Rule 23 in favor of an opt-in procedure that would require absent class members to take some affirmative action before being swept into a class action, and prohibition of settlement classes, which Professor Redish believes are often subject to abuse. The second portion of this Essay explores further implications and applications of Professor Redish’s theories.