Alex Blaze

Lilly Ledbetter makes her TV debut

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 24, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, employment discrimination, John McCain, John Sununu, ledbetter vs. goodyear, lilly ledbetter, people for the american way, political advertising, sexism, sununu, supreme court, supreme court decisions, tv

There isn't anyone who can talk more authentically about how three decades of conservative judges have effectively gutted anti-discrimination law than Lilly Ledbetter. And she did an ad for the Obama campaign.


iPhone users: Click to watch

More after the jump.

Here's another ad PFAW is running in New Hampshire against Senator John Sununu:


iPhone users: Click to watch

Lilly Ledbetter's case exploded on the national stage when she lost her employers' appeal to the Supreme Court. She had been denied equal wages for years, and when she found out about it, she took Goodyear to court. She overcame pretty harsh odds and proved her case in trial court, only to have it overturned in appeal.

Goodyear's winning argument? The law requires that she file suit 180 days after the act of discrimination occurred. Previously, in pay discrimination cases, that was interpreted to mean that she had to file 180 days after her last discriminatory paycheck. But the Supreme Court moved that hoop even higher and said that she had to have filed 180 days after her first discriminatory paycheck, which was issued years before Ledbetter even found out what her coworkers were being paid.

It was a clear case of employment discrimination based on gender that's turned into a clear case of judicial bias in favor of corporations. Overall, though, Ledbetter's story is far away from unique. Employment discrimination cases are nearly impossible to get to trial, to win at trial, and then to win again at appeal. Considering all those hurdles, it's not at all strange that fewer and fewer people are filing discrimination suits - they know that they're going to lose and get stuck with legal fees and no way to pay for them. (Goodyear even had the audacity to send Ledbetter the bill for their legal fees.)

This is an issue that a lot of Americans can identify with, especially working class women. It should be front-and-center in this campaign, and that commercial from Obama makes McCain eat his privileged, uneducated words.


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I'd never heard of Ledbetter before, Alex. Thanks for this.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | September 24, 2008 7:04 PM

I'd heard of Ledbetter's case, but didn't recognize her name.

That's a great ad!

I'm going to sound like one of the spin doctors that I detest so much that meddle in everything from politics to denture creme, but Lilly's no nonsense, plain spoken, southern influenced voice will go a long way with many voters. The message of the ad is on point, simple and extremely effective.

Great post.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 25, 2008 3:23 AM

Judy, for all the hard working women that struggle to be paid as much as a dumb man with less education STEP AWAY FROM THE DARK SIDE!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 25, 2008 3:32 AM

I had to forward the whole thing to one of my Hoosier Republican Ladies...