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Who's afraid of Lilly Ledbetter?

April 24, 2008 |  5:19 pm

Not Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Both came out in favor of a congressional bill that would make it easier for victims of pay disparity to charge discrimination in court. That's what Lilly Ledbetter tried to do, but the Supreme Court ruled against her, adhering closely to a law that says discrimination must be reported within 180 days of its occurrence. As the editorial board wrote earlier this week:

As a narrow reading of the law, that's all well and good. But as a prescription for redressing harm -- the intent, after all, of anti-discrimination law -- the court's approach is impossibly binding. Most cases of discrimination, including the one before the court in Ledbetter, are difficult to discern at once, for the simple reason that most discrimination is covert. In the case of Lilly Ledbetter, a jury found that her employers had unfairly paid her less than male colleagues over a period of years.

Here's Obama's statement, and a video of Clinton on the Senate floor. The two returned to the capital to make remarks, uniting briefly on the issue before going back to trading blows in Indiana. (CQPolitics' David Nather has the play-by-play of their close encounter.)

For the record, the bill didn't get enough votes to avoid a filibuster. And John McCain joined most of his fellow Republicans in opposing it.

And as an aside, doesn't "Lilly Ledbetter" have a great Rosie-the-Riveter-ish ring? To hear more from the woman herself, read The American Prospect interview.

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