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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Lilly Ledbetter Vindicated

I couldn’t be happier that the very first congressional bill signed into law by President Barack Obama turned out to be the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. In case you’re not familiar with Ledbetter’s saga, she was a long-time Goodyear employee in Alabama who successfully sued her employer for chronic wage discrimination against women, only to see her victory reversed in the US Supreme Court via an interepretation of federal statutues that required the filing of a complaint in a fixed period of time after the discrimination began, even though she and similar employees had no way of knowing about it.
The bill signed by Obama today, which modifies the equal pay laws to correct this obvious miscarriage of justice, passed the House in 2007, but was blocked from floor action by Senate Republicans. John McCain was among those opposing the bill on the usual specious “burden on businesses” grounds.
Back during the Democratic convention, I mentioned that Lilly was one of the speakers I got to work with in the rehearsal room. She is a woman of enormous decency, dignity and courage, and it’s fitting she joined Obama at the signing ceremony for the law that bears her name.

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