People For Ads Target Coleman’s Record on Judges

People For the American Way is running a radio ad in the Twin Cities focusing on Senator Norm Coleman's support of George Bush's ultraconservative nominees to the Supreme Court, and releasing a video version of the ad on YouTube.

The ads feature the story of Lilly Ledbetter, a factory worker who faced years of sex discrimination on the job and was paid far less then men doing the same work, won a discrimination case, but was ultimately denied justice by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 opinion authored by Bush nominee Justice Samuel Alito. The ads urge Minnesotans to contact Senator Coleman and voice their support for fair-minded judges.

“Minnesotans should know that Norm Coleman has helped George Bush put justices on the Supreme Court who are out of step with Minnesota values — even something as simple and fair as equal pay for equal work,” said People For the American Way Political Director Mary Jean Collins. “A senator only serves for six years, but Supreme Court justices serve for a lifetime. When it comes to the Supreme Court, Norm Coleman didn't stand for Minnesota values. He stood with George Bush.”

The web ad is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BreAAbC6y1Q. The transcript reads:

For years, Lilly Ledbetter was paid far less than the men in her factory for doing the same work — and she proved it in court. But when the company appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, a new justice nominated by George W. Bush and supported by Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman wrote the opinion that denied her equal pay.

Tell Norm Coleman we need judges who will protect workers — not take our rights away.

The radio ad is available here (mp3 format).

You can learn more about People For the American Way's activities around the Supreme Court at www.SaveTheCourt.org.

About the Case

Ledbetter v. Goodyear — Lilly Ledbetter received an anonymous tip late in her career with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. that she had been consistently paid much less than her male coworkers. She proved her case and a federal jury awarded her back pay and punitive damages, but Goodyear appealed. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled against her 5-4.

The Court's ruling, written by right-wing Justice Samuel Alito (nominated by George W. Bush and supported by Norm Coleman), said that Lilly should have filed a complaint within 180 days of the time her supervisors gave her discriminatory evaluations that resulted in her being paid less than her male coworkers.

The Court rejected a longstanding interpretation of the law that gave workers 180 days to file a complaint after receiving any discriminatory paycheck, regardless of when the discrimination began. The ruling denied justice for Lilly, and makes it easier for companies to get away with discrimination. Thousands of workers who face discrimination based on sex, race, religion or nationality may have no legal recourse.

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