Is it just me? Signing a law that tells the Supreme Court they are wrong on womens rights may open Pandoras Box on Supreme Court decisions. Could the Supreme Court be wrong on other decisions they have made on womens rights? Well, we sure don't expect Obama to make it a regular thing to overturn Supreme Court decisions, but this is his very first law and to me it is a bit ironic to overturn the courts right off the bat when it has been a liberal method to get their agenda passed. With the Democrats in full control now I guess they do not need the courts to pass their agenda.
Do not take me wrong, I am not suggesting this shiny new law is wrong, but we may see this rear it's ugly head many more times on many issues.
Obama signs in his first law: equal pay rights in workplace
Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington The Guardian, Friday 30 January 2009
Barack Obama yesterday drew a clear line between his presidency and that of George Bush in his support for women's rights, when he signed an equal pay law as his first piece of legislation yesterday.
In a celebration at the White House for women and labour activists, Obama paid tribute to a former supervisor at an Alabama tyre factory who fought for the legislation which bears her name.
The Lilly Ledbetter law, which allows workers greater latitude to sue their employers for unequal pay, had been blocked by Bush and opposed by Republican members of Congress, including presidential candidate John McCain.
The supreme court, in a 2007 decision, also rejected Ledbetter's efforts to seek redress after discovering she had been paid far less than male supervisors in her 19 years at the Goodyear tyre factory.
Yesterday, with Ledbetter at his side and wife, Michelle, looking on, Obama said the new law would help make amends.
"This one's for Lilly." he said handing Ledbetter a pen, and giving a thumbs-up sign to the audience.
"Making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone," Obama said. "That there are no second-class citizens in our workplaces and that it's not just unfair and illegal - but bad for business - to pay someone less because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability."
Ledbetter will not benefit from the law, but said she was glad other women would be protected. "That's what makes this fight worth fighting," she said.
Obama adopted Ledbetter's cause during his campaign. She spoke at the Democratic convention, and travelled with him on his whistlestop train journey to Washington for his inauguration.
She even got a ticket to an inaugural ball, where she danced with the president.
Ledbetter's cause was also adopted by the Democratic Congress. Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, and Nancy Pelosi, the house speaker, were at the White House yesterday for the signing.
Under the new law, women now have six months after receiving any discriminatory pay cheque to seek redress.
Previously, women who discovered they were earning less than men in the same job had just six months after receiving their first pay cheque to seek legal remedy. That left women like Ledbetter, who had been working at the tyre factory for 19 years before learning her male counterparts were all earning more than her, out in the cold.
The White House said yesterday that Ledbetter lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension, in the course of her employment.
The new measure also applies to those who seek redress for pay discrimination based on race, religion, disability or age.
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