May 29, 2008

(John Amato-Let's welcome once again---Kathryn Kolbert---President of the People for the American Way)

On May 29, 2007 the Supreme Court issued its infamous 5-4 ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. The ruling, authored by Bush nominee Justice Samuel Alito (who replaced Sandra Day O'Connor), didn't only harm Lilly Ledbetter. It made it much easier for any business to engage in pay discrimination against its employees, with complete impunity.

Lilly Ledbetter faced years of pay discrimination, but she only learned about it late in her career. Thanks to an anonymous tip, she learned she was being paid far less than her men doing the same job. She sued and won back pay. But Goodyear didn't give up and was finally rewarded by the Supreme Court, which ruled in an opinion by Alito that workers must sue within 180 days of the initial decision by an employer to pay a discriminatory wage - even if they don't learn of it until later and their pay is still lower as a result. That's ludicrous.

(We sat down with Lilly last year, and she told us about her case and the discrimination she faced - watch the videos here).

Democrats attempted to undo the damage by passing new legislation, but Senate Republicans blocked it last month. McCain opposed it and has been loudly singing the praises of Alito and his fellow right-wing justices. He evidently thinks pay discrimination is a winning issue.

Here's McCain at a voter forum earlier in the month. He tried to put a 14-yr-old girl on the spot, but she'll have the last laugh when his smug endorsement of the ruling comes back to haunt him:

On the one year anniversary of the decision, it's painfully clear what's at stake. McCain says he wants more Alitos on the court, but for Lilly Ledbetter and other Americans who rely on the court for justice in the face of powerful interests, we already have one Alito too many.

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