Bloggers on the failure of the equal-pay bill.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
April 25 2008 4:39 PM

Ledbetter Blues

Bloggers are denouncing Republicans' attack on the equal-pay bill, bracing themselves for Jeremiah Wright's latest TV appearance, and giggling at Wesley Snipes' friends.

Ledbetter blues: Senate Republicans on Wednesday successfully filibustered to block consideration of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have made it easier for employees to sue for pay discrimination, in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision that ruled employees have a narrow window of time to sue. Democrats were four votes shy of the 60 needed to institute cloture and end the debate.

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Jessica Grose of Jezebel—who says Lilly Ledbetter "got totally screwed by the Supreme Court" and is now "being screwed by the Senate"—depresses herself further by reminding readers of Ruth Bader Ginsberg's dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court case, in which Ginsberg recounted Ledbetter's testimony about the pervasive discrimination she faced while an executive at Goodyear.

But ReasonableCitizen looks at the free-market implications of such legislation. "The premise is that people should receive equal pay for equal work. Sounds fair, but what if you are willing to work for less money than others? Should you be able to 'sell' your economic advantage to win a job? Isn't that what fair markets are about? Isn't that exactly how an average wage is established? … Is it permissible for the interviewee to ask for less money than what others make to fulfill an economic need for themselves? I think so."

At the Plank, the New Republic's Josh Patashnik criticizes Republicans for what he calls "a pretty clear abuse of the filibuster," saying, "the filibuster appropriately allows for intense minorities to block major legislation, but the key word is intense. Republicans: You not only oppose this bill, but oppose it with such conviction, and view its defeat as such a critical priority, that it merits a cloture vote? Really?"

Bloggers had particularly scathing words for Sen. John McCain, who skipped the vote to keep campaigning, for saying that, while he is "all in favor of pay equity for women," the bill would "[open] us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems."

Kyle E. Moore from Comments From Left Field insists that lawsuits are crucial tools of justice for average Americans and shouldn't be demonized as "frivolous." "And why shouldn't women be allowed to sue their employers for pay discrimination?" he asks. "What, are we supposed to ask them nicely to please pay women what they deserve?" Kia Franklin at TortDeform adds, "To make matters worse, this bill is not a radical new law. McCain is essentially saying that a modest bill that simply restores the state of the law prior to July 2007, when the Supreme Court had it's Supreme Corp hat on, steps on the toes of big business."

The Moderate Voice's Damozel jumped on McCain's comments that women "need the education and training" to close the wage gap. "Inequality in pay for the same work is a completely different problem from the lack of marketable skills," she seethes. "Or is he just saying, in a back-handed sort of way, that maybe female employees in general really aren't as good as male employees?" Morra Aarons at techPresident is calling on women to take up MomsRising.org's suggestion and send their résumés to McCain. "I think we should ask Meghan McCain to send her resume in too," Aarons writes. "I don't think her Dad would want the Blogette to earn less than a Blog-him."

Read more about the Senate's vote on the Fair Pay Act. Slate's XX Factor discusses the bill.

Jeremiah has a bullhorn: Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, will be interviewed by Bill Moyers Friday on PBS. Bloggers are reacting to excerpts of the interview already circulating on the Internet.