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New York Time’s editorial nonsense
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, May 31, 2007

In an editorial entitled "Injustice 5, Justice 4", the NYT says:
The Supreme Court struck a blow for discrimination this week by stripping a key civil rights law of much of its potency. The majority opinion, by Justice Samuel Alito, forced an unreasonable reading on the law, and tossed aside longstanding precedents to rule in favor of an Alabama employer that had underpaid a female employee for years. The ruling is the latest indication that a court that once proudly stood up for the disadvantaged is increasingly protective of the powerful.

Lilly Ledbetter, a supervisor at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Gadsden, Ala., sued her employer for paying her less than its male supervisors. At first, her salary was in line with the men’s, but she got smaller raises, which created a significant pay gap. Late in her career, Ms. Ledbetter filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A jury found that Goodyear violated her rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Goodyear argued that she filed her complaint too late and, by a 5-4 margin, the Supreme Court agreed. Title VII requires employees to file within 180 days of “the alleged unlawful employment practice.” The court calculated the deadline from the day Ms. Ledbetter received her last discriminatory raise. Bizarrely, the majority insisted it did not matter that Goodyear was still paying her far less than her male counterparts when she filed her complaint.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that there were strong precedents supporting Ms. Ledbetter. The Supreme Court ruled in a similar race discrimination case that each paycheck calculated on the basis of past discrimination is unlawful under Title VII. The courts of appeals have overwhelmingly agreed. So did the E.E.O.C., the agency charged with enforcing Title VII.

In addition to interpreting the statute unreasonably and ignoring the relevant precedents, the majority blinded itself to the realities of the workplace. Employees generally do not know enough about what their co-workers earn, or how pay decisions are made, to file a complaint precisely when discrimination occurs. At Goodyear, as at many companies, salaries were confidential. The court’s new rules will make it extraordinarily difficult for victims of pay discrimination to sue under Title VII. That is not how Congress intended the law to be enforced, merely how five justices would like it to be.

It is disturbing that Anthony Kennedy, the court’s swing justice, cast the deciding vote in favor of gutting a key part of the Civil Rights Act. Fortunately, Congress can amend the law to undo this damaging decision. It should do so without delay.
Essentially the NYT is claiming it is the duty of the court to do what the legislature hasn't done and "fix" the law by ignoring the parameters Congress put in the law for filing discrimination suits. IOW, judicial activism.

That's precisely what the court shouldn't be doing. While we may all agree that the law isn't a good one, it isn't the job of the SC to "fix" it or ignore it.

The last line in the NYT editorial says it all, "Fortunately, Congress can amend the law to undo this damaging decision. It should do so without delay."

Yes, they should, and that is their job, not the SC's. The SC's job is to determine the Constitutionality of laws and enforce those which meet the test. Obviously the Constitutionality test for this law was met. If there's any "injustice" to be found here, it can be laid in the lap of those who wrote the law, not those who enforced it.
 
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"The ruling is the latest indication that a court that once proudly stood up for the disadvantaged is increasingly protective of the powerful."
Is the Constitution disadvantaged?
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
At first, her salary was in line with the men’s, but she got smaller raises, which created a significant pay gap
Maybe her performance wasn’t as good as the men she was compared to?
The ruling is the latest indication that a court that once proudly stood up for the disadvantaged is increasingly protective of the powerful
The Court should be standing up for the law. If the rich and powerful are in the right, so be it.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Essentially the NYT is claiming it is the duty of the court to do what the legislature hasn’t done and "fix" the law by ignoring the parameters Congress put in the law for filing discrimination suits. IOW, judicial activism.
Essentially, you’re misreading the NYTimes. The Times is arguing that the majority misread the statute, and that the Congress should make its intent absolutely clear so that the Court can’t do so again.

Your misreading of an editorial about a misreading of a law does give the post a neat "down the rabbit hole" feel, though.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
The question that seems to me needful to ask, is whether a governmentally enforced pay structure is something the government should be doing. in reality, that’s what’s being asked for here.

I am not suggesting that equal pay for equal work is not a desirable. What I’m asking, is whether not government is the proper vehicle to make those decisions. Often as not, decisions made by the government are inherently unjust, despite the fact that they are made in the name of "justice". The New York Times is making the assumption, as they do each time the question comes up, the government is the answer.

However, I hold with Ronald Reagan, that government is the problem.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Is the Constitution disadvantaged?
When firmly in the grip of Justice Ginsburg, yes it is.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Essentially, you’re misreading the NYTimes. The Times is arguing that the majority misread the statute, and that the Congress should make its intent absolutely clear so that the Court can’t do so again.
No, the NYT were arguing that the majority ignored dubious precidents.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"The court calculated the deadline from the day Ms. Ledbetter received her last discriminatory raise. Bizarrely, the majority insisted it did not matter that Goodyear was still paying her far less than her male counterparts when she filed her complaint."

It is bizarre to use the pay raise date. I would think the 180 day rule would only apply after she was no longer at the job.


 
Written By: abwtf
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
I think this is a swing and a miss. NYT isn’t suggesting that the court should have rewritten the law, only interpret Goodyear’s "last disciminatory event" as the last paycheck she received, not her last raise. The law would then have been fine as written, the argument used in interpreting totally logical and well within court discretion. The SC would not have distorted the law by using a different, reasonable calculation of the last discriminatory event. The law did not specify to an extent that would have made that reasoning contrary to it.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Keep it going, thanks. I found exactly the information.
 
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