Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Squeaking In The Wall

That's the wingnut mice you are hearing, gnawing away at the last hundred years of progressive legislation, trying to get through the joists. Much of this work is done in silence, outside the limelight of the media (where's that white woman eaten by the sharks?). Little mice they may be, but there are many of them. Some even wear judicial gowns:

Court Protects Gender Discrimintion
As Ruth Bader Ginsburg notes, the evidence of gender discrimination in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear, decided today by the Supreme Court, is unambiguous:

Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber's plant in Gadsden, Alabama, from 1979 until her retirement in 1998. For most of those years, she worked as an area manager, a position largely occupied by men. Initially, Ledbetter's salary was in line with the salaries of men performing substantially similar work. Over time, however, her pay slipped in comparison to the pay of male area managers with equal or less seniority. By the end of 1997, Ledbetter was the only woman working as an area manager and the pay discrepancy between Ledbetter and her 15 male counterparts was stark: Ledbetter was paid $3,727 per month; the lowest paid male area manager received $4,286 per month, the highest paid, $5,236.

Despite this, and contrary to the judgment of the EEOC, the Court by a bare 5-4 majority threw out the discrimination claim she brought under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Court--in an opinion, natch, written by its arch-reactionary newest member--argued that Ledbetter failed to challenge the initial discriminatory pay decision within the required 180 days, and the ongoing pay discrimination did not constitute an "unlawful employment practice."

So you, a possible victim of discrimination, have 180 days to act. That is half a year. I hope you know all the facts within that time. I hope you realize that you might have been discriminated against. On the other hand, if you happen to have discriminated against some folks in the past you can now relax.

Of course this decision was expected in the general sense, of course. The clearing out of all non-wingnuts in the Supreme Court was not something unimportant in the blueprints of the conservatives, and it was not just about abortion. It's also important to make sure that women and minorities don't cause a fuss in the labor markets or in the universities. For the proper functioning of the status quo, that is. From the point of view of those who run things. And their mice.