Ruth Bader Ginsburg Can’t Do It Alone

Tue, May 29, 2007

Equal Pay

Future Supreme Court Justices.

Yes, there are obviously MANY other good reasons to vote for the next President.

But today’s 5-4 ruling (yes, along ideological lines) is only more proof that women’s rights will slowly slip away if we don’t have a Democrat appointing Justices for the next Supreme Court seats that come open.

Why do I say that today?

That means women who have been paid less than their male counterparts over the course of their careers may not be able to sue for sex discrimination if they don’t discover the pay disparities early in their tenure. If it’s been hidden and you haven’t had a reason to take a poll about who’s getting paid what, you’re SOL.

Lilly Ledbetter sued her employer, Goodyear, claiming that she had been discriminated against for 19 years because she had been paid significantly less than other male employees who were less experienced and less senior than her. The trial court initially agreed, and awarded her $3.8 million.

The upshot after years of legal wrangling was the decision today that Ledbetter was too late in suing and that if employees were allowed to sue under these circumstances that employers would find it too difficult to defend such claims “arising from employment decisions that are long past.”

Those poor, large corporations.

Essentially businesses are now going to be rewarded for paying their long-time, loyal women employees less than their less experienced male counterparts. The longer employers can keep it a secret that they’re paying the women less, the more likely it will be that there will be no repercussions.

Supreme Court as it is currently composed already has weighed-in on abortion in a way that has opened the door to chipping away at women’s privacy rights. Now, it’s chipped away at our right to challenge being paid less because of our gender.

Not surprisingly, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the wonderful dissent in this discrimination case, which explains quite directly why this decision is wrong. But if you’ve only got four votes, it doesn’t matter how good your logic or legal reasoning is.

Justice Ginsburg can’t do it alone and the four in the minorty are no spring chickens. I pray for frequently for the good health of the “liberal” justices and hope they can hang on until January of 2009.

But the only sure way we can think about getting the one additional vote we need to keep our rights from slipping away is to cast our votes for the Presidential candidate we think will do that best.
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5 Responses to “Ruth Bader Ginsburg Can’t Do It Alone”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Just so disturbing.

    I’m reminded of a story my dad told me. He’s an engineer in the oil business and many, many years ago he became head of project controls, and thus he became aware of his peers salaries. He said that he was shocked to find that the male engineers had consistently been paid a higher raise yearly for so long that by the time he moved on to a new job, 10 years later, he was unable to fix the damage to the women engineers. 10 years of reverse discrimination and he was unable to fix the vast difference in salaries! Unbelievable!

    Sometimes by living in Oklahoma I’ve come to believe that there’s no hope! Please let there be hope! After the last presidential election…I don’t know.

  2. lola coca-cola Says:

    Can I just climb under my bed and stay there? Oh wait, I have a daughter and I want her to have rights. Crap.

  3. Paige Says:

    I do not understand how something like this can happen in 2007. I just don’t. It’s frightening.

  4. Lawyer Mama Says:

    I’m so glad you wrote about this. I’ve been angry beyond belief since I read the opinion.

    I’m flabbergasted by the majority opinion. You are certainly correct that Ginsberg’s dissent is the better reasoned opinion. One of the most compelling arguments against the majority’s view, which Ginsberg pointed out, is that Title VII permits back pay of up to 2 years as a remedy. Clearly Congress contemplated actions being filed beyond the 18 month filing provision mentioned in the statute. It’s not a statute of limitations.

    The majority has essentially eviscerated Title VII. They’ve made it an impractical joke.

    ARGH! Can you feel my frustration?

  5. Mixter Says:

    What a load of dookies, huh?

    We must continue to fight for ourselves, our daughters and our granddaughters.


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