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George W has struck another blow against America’s working stiffs. This time, he didn’t do it directly – he did his part when he appointed John Roberts and Sam Alito to the Supreme Court. And now, these two black-robed corporate hirelings are pummeling workers from the bench.
They just issued an absurd opinion that totally convolutes common sense in cases of pay discrimination against women. Lilly Ledbetter had worked for Goodyear Tire for 20 years. Late in her career, she learned that men doing the same work she did had been getting far higher pay raises over the years, leaving her salary some 40 percent lower than theirs.
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Her 1998 lawsuit was backed by the government’s anti-discrimination agency… until Bush came along. Last year, when Ledbetter’s case reached the Supremes, the Bushites disavowed the agency and filed a brief on the side of the corporate discriminator. And now, Bush’s two corporate-biased judges have – Big Surprise – embraced his and Goodyear’s view of the case.
Alito wrote in the 5-4 opinion that the discrimination was irrelevant because, technically, employees must file a pay complaint within 180 days of having their salaries set. This bit of judicial activism completely overturns decades of federal policy and precedent.
More importantly, it’s a ridiculous atttempt by Alito, Roberts, and gang to overturn reality. The corporate workplace is shrouded in secrecy and is hostile to anyone asking questions – so no one’s going to know within 180 days that discrimination is afoot. What Bush’s judges have done – on behalf of powerful corporations – is effectively to negate the federal law prohibiting workplace discrimination.
This is why it is essential to begin evaluating judicial appointees not merely on social issues, but especially on how they’ll treat workers, consumers, the environment, and others abused by corporate power.
“Justices Ruling Limits Suits on Pay Disparity,” New York Times, May 30, 2007
“Experts Say Decision on Pay Reorders Legal Landscape,” New York Times, May 30, 2007