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Filibuster Defeats Ledbetter Equal Pay Bill

On Wednesday, a Senate filibuster blocked legislation to overturn the Supreme Court holding in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007) 550 U.S. __. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama each took time away from the campaign trail to speak in favor of the bill, but John McCain stayed away, expressing satisfaction over the bill's failure.

"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems. This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system."

In other words, he likes the equal pay laws, as long as few people actually get relief from the courts if the law is disregarded. Only six Republican senators supported the bill, which would have passed by a majority vote of 56-42, but could not be put to a vote without the 60 votes needed to end the filibuster. Had the filibuster failed, the White House vowed to veto the bill.

Comments

Eugene D. Lee

Doris Ledbetter filed her EEOC claim less than 6 months after finding out that she was being paid less than males. She found out through an anonymous tip. Most people aren't privy to the salaries their colleagues are receiving and wouldn't know to sue for pay discrimination as it was occurring or within 180 days after. It took Doris Ledbetter 19 years to find out she was being discriminated against. The Ledbetter decision completely emasculates the Equal Pay Act. The notion that our mothers, sisters and daughters will bring the legal system to its knees with their allegations of pay discrimination is simply ridiculous. I am not aware of any evidence that frivolous EPA claims have been clogging the courts. The opponents to the Fair Pay Act are being intellectually dishonest.

Moreover, McCain's notion that the Fair Pay Act represents inappropriate government intrusion into the private sector makes no sense. Is the alternative to let the private sector police its own discriminatory pay practices? The very same private sector that is engaging in them in the first place?

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