In response to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision today in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire, People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas released the following statement:
“Today’s ruling is just the latest sign of the Court’s rightward lurch following the replacement of moderate conservative Justice Sandra Day O’Connor with ultraconservative Justice Samuel Alito and the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice.”
“The Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Alito, ruled against a female former employee of Goodyear who claimed she had been subjected to gender-based salary discrimination over many years. Justice Anthony Kennedy joined with the right-wing bloc (as he did in Gonzales v. Carhart) to severely limit the relief available to many workers who fall victim to wage discrimination.
“It is often exceptionally difficult for employees to learn about salary disparities and to sue for wage discrimination while continuing to work for a company. By making it more difficult for Americans to recover wages unfairly denied them, and less costly for companies to engage in discrimination against employees, the Court majority displayed its hostility to individual rights and to the laws passed by Congress to protect them.
“In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg accused the majority of straying far ‘from interpretation of Title VII with fidelity to the Act’s core purpose.’ Having successfully argued so many important sex discrimination cases when she was an attorney, Justice Ginsburg must feel as though she is going back in time with each passing day. And she would be right.
“The fulcrum of the Court has shifted rightward from Justice O’Connor to Justice Kennedy. It has become increasingly clear that whenever he aligns with his four ultraconservative peers, the outcome will be destructive. In decision after decision, Alito and Roberts are demonstrating the hostility to crucial rights and protections that the opponents to their confirmation warned about.”