Lily Ledbetter Keeps Her Eye on the Prize: Supreme Court

Emily Douglas

Lily Ledbetter addresses the Democratic National Convention to support Obama's pledge to "appoint justices who enforce laws that protect everyday people."

"You’re probably wondering, what is a grandmother from Alabama" doing speaking at the Democratic National Convention, said Lily Ledbetter in her opening remarks this evening. Saying she was just as surprised as her audience to find herself in this position, Ledbetter outlined the pay discrimination she suffered at Goodyear — nineteen years of steady service rewarded by an income lower than that of her male counterparts. The case went to the Supreme Court, where, "in a 5-4 decision, our highest court sided with big business." The Court found that Ledbetter should have filed her complaint within six months of Goodyear’s first decision to pay her less. Ledbetter, meanwhile, had no idea she was being paid less than her male co-workers.  In her dissent, Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out that the "ruling does not make sense on the real world." 

The House of Representatives has passed a bill to make sure, said Ledbetter, "that what was done to me couldn’t happen again."  But in the Senate, a number of Republicans prevented a vote.  "We can’t afford more votes that deny women their equal rights," said Ledbetter. "As president, [Obama] has promised to appoint justices who enforce laws that protect everyday people."

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