Making Pay Equity a Campaign Issue
On the list of speakers at the Democratic National Convention is Lilly Ledbetter, whose case before the Supreme Court led to a shameful 5-4 decision barring women from suing for unlawful wage discrimination unless they act within 180 days of the time the disparate pay started -- even if they don't learn until years later that all the male employees holding the same job had been given raises that female employees didn't receive. Ledbetter is in a good position to dramatize a point that needs to be made clearly: Republicans in general, and John McCain in particular, continue their history of hostility to legislation that provides a remedy for gender discrimination.
Obama was an original co-sponsor of the legislation to reverse the result in Ledbetter's case; McCain opposes the bill because, he said in April, it "opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems." Well, yes, that would be the point of a law prohibiting pay discrimination.
As Ruth Marcus writes, Lilly Ledbetter "puts a human face on a pocketbook issue." And it's an issue that tells us a good deal about the values our next president will hold.
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