The Myth v. The Reality of the Lilly Ledbetter Act

Today I received a press release from a democrat Congressman to remind me that today is the 4th anniversary of Barack Obama’s signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Act. As we know because we heard the One and his campaign operatives repeat it endlessly, this statute was the first enactment signed into law by the Dear Reader back in 2009. He is very proud of that fact, and he clearly enjoys the huge political hay he can heap from mentioning this law to his low-info supporters, who are intoxicated with their love for this man who is a fighter for women’s rights. Unfortunately, as usual, the myth is a teensy weensy bit different from the reality. From The Examiner:

Lilly Ledbetter, who previously made false claims about her pay discrimination lawsuit that ended up in the Supreme Court, has returned to the political arena, attacking Mitt Romney, even though Romney, like Obama, supports the 2009 equal-pay legislation that bears her name, as you can see at this link. (That 2009 legislation, theLilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, merely extended the statute of limitations in certain equal-pay lawsuits. Equal pay has been legally guaranteed for nearly five decades by two different, mutually-reinforcing laws, Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act extended the deadline for suing under one of those two laws, Title VII, which previously had a rather short deadline).

In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was enacted, partly based on false claims that the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter v. Goodyeardecision, which barred untimely pay-discrimination claims, had made it impossible to bring equal-pay claims over discrimination unless employees learn of the discrimination quickly. That false perception was cultivated by President Obama himself, who ignored the existence of the legal doctrines of equitable tolling and estoppel, and the existence of another law banning pay discrimination, the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Pay Act allowed people to sue even if their claims were untimely under the law interpreted in the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter v. Goodyear decision, a different law known as Title VII. In reality, the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision prevented women from suing over pay discrimination only if they had incompetent lawyers who were unaware of the Equal Pay Act (admittedly, the Equal Pay Act does provide for different damage awards in some cases than Title VII, so employers were mildly happy about the Ledbetterdecision).

In reality, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, touted as being all about “fairness,” enacts a policy that is the opposite of fairness to business owners and anyone else who believes in justice and common sense, which of course excludes the current occupant of the Oval Office and his minions.


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