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One last Ledbetter appearance in Congress



It does not appear the Senate will have another vote on the "fair pay" legislation, i.e., H.R. 2831, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which passed the House but failed to gain cloture last April in the Senate. However, Lilly Ledbetter does get one more moment in the congressional grievance spotlight this week, testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Tuesday, "Barriers to Justice: Examining Equal Pay for Equal Work."

Ever since the Supreme Court rejected her arguments in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, she's become a cause celebre, the embodiment of wage discrimination for the Democrats. Ms. Ledbetter had a prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention and campaigned last week with Michelle Obama in Richmond. In a trenchant post, "Lilly Ledbetter, Living a Lie," D.C. attorney and Powerline blogger Paul Mirengoff is having none of it, challenging the veracity of her arguments and reiterating the importance of statutes of limitation.

Prevented by the facts from arguing in a real court that she didn't have enough knowledge about her pay situation to bring a timely EEOC charge, Ledbetter (and those who seek political advantage through her) now raise this false claim in the court of public opinion. For example, Ledbetter claims that "the only way that I really knew [about the pay discrimination] was that someone left an anonymous note in my mailbox showing my pay and the pay for the three males who were doing the same job, just on different shifts." According to Ledbetter, "when I saw that note, it just floored me. I was so shocked at the amount of difference in our pay for doing the same exact job. And I went immediately to EEOC."

This claim, of course, cannot be reconciled with her sworn testimony that three years before allegedly receiving the "anonymous note," she told her supervisor that she definitely knew that she was making thousands less than her male counterparts for the same work.

Also testifying at Tuesday's hearing are employment law experts Eric S. Dreiband of Jones Day and Cyrus Mehri of Mehri & Skalet. Dreiband, the former EEOC's general counsel, moved from Akin Gump to Jones Day this July. And Mehri was featured in last week's "Ad Age" in a story headlined, "Top Lawyer Preps March on Mad Ave -- Man Who Beat Coke and NFL Starts to Study Diversity in Ad Agencies."

Mr. Mehri declined to discuss whether a lawsuit was in the works but said his firm was behind the preliminary results of a study obtained by Ad Age. Any way you look at it, the fact that a top civil-rights attorney has commissioned a survey of diversity in ad agencies does not bode well for the agencies whose ranks are still overwhelmingly white.

Can't wait for the congressional hearings.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.