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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Still Standing up for Fair Pay

Today, Lilly Ledbetter once again traveled across the country to tell her story and urge Congress to restore the civil rights protections the Supreme Court eviscerated last year. Although the Fair Pay Act was filibustered in the Senate, she continues to fight for its passage, even though legislation will not affect her own case. Hopefully, the Senate will soon follow Lilly’s courageous lead and renew our country’s commitment that no person should be paid less because of his or her gender, race, age, or disability.

Female Democratic senators, along with a handful of House members, joined Lilly today to highlight the continuing fight for fair pay. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) introduced Lilly at a rally overlooking the Capitol and spoke about the Supreme Court’s willingness to side with businesses over workers. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also attended, voicing frustration that laws against pay discrimination that were passed with huge bipartisan majorities have now been gutted by the court’s decision.

The House has already demonstrated its commitment to equal pay for equal work—passing the Fair Pay Act just months after the Supreme Court issued its decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Over a year has passed since the decision, and every day people like Lilly are receiving discriminatory pay and living with that inequality, with no recourse. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito were willing to turn a blind eye to injustice, ignoring both congressional intent and the real-world effects of their decision. Fortunately, in this case, the Senate can correct the havoc the Bush appointees have wreaked. But Lilly’s story provides yet another illustration of how President Bush’s ultra-conservative court-packing scheme has damaged the lives of Americans, and the legacy of his ideological lifetime appointments will long outlast his stay in the White House.

To read more about the effects of the Ledbetter decision, which has now been cited in 267 cases, click here.

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