LETTER: Opinion taints meaning of factsTo the Telegram: Like the commenter in the Sept. 26 Telegram, I enjoy verifying political statements by using fact-checking websites and reliable sources.
To the Telegram:
Like the commenter in the Sept. 26 Telegram, I enjoy verifying political statements by using fact-checking websites and reliable sources.
However her understanding of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act may hinge on personal opinion.
The original Ledbetter Act was stuck down by the Supreme Court in 2007 — despite rulings from almost all other federal courts supporting Title 7, which deals with discrimination in the workplace.
Ledbetter had long pursued justice in wage discrimination. Congress originally intended to provide ample time and opportunity for employees to legally pursue remedies for pay discrimination, 180 days after receiving the last unfair paycheck. And, Obama’s first signed bill (The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) was intended to restore that original understanding of the law, not just for women, but any victim of pay discrimination.
As mentioned, originally the Ledbetter legislation intended to change the time to file lawsuits from 180 days after the first unfair paycheck, to 180 days after the last known discriminatory check. This was considered appropriate because new employees don’t know peers are receiving more pay and are unable to access proof. So, if an employee works while underpaid for six months, under the Supreme Court’s ruling, which recognizes lawsuits made six months after the first unfair paycheck, then they would completely lose their right to file after those first 180 days elapsed.
The Supreme Court delivered this ruling with a 5-4 vote many considered was made by judges ignoring almost all other federal courts had supported the time period after the last paycheck. Under the Ledbetter Act, litigants could only receive restitution for unfair payments made during the last two years, limiting the extent of lawsuits and preventing abuse suffered because of frivolous suits.
The Telegram letter writer chooses to consider this limitation of the time as necessary to stop frivolous lawsuits. But six months to gather evidence, verify facts and hire adequate legal aid is rather short, especially when one considers how backed logged the court system is today. I personally labored for 15 months during a simple landlord-tenant dispute.
Regarding Paul Ryan’s congressional voting record — an Aug. 26 editorial in the New York Times gave stinging reports concerning many of Ryan’s legislative attitudes about women; Ryan is on record wanting to ban all abortions including those resulting from incest and rape. He has co-sponsored more than three dozen anti-abortion bills, and although he publicly urged Todd Akin to drop out of the senate race due to his notorious “legitimate rape” comment, Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Akin intended to narrow the definition of rape and limit the number of poor women able to have abortions funded by Medicaid. Last year, Ryan wrote a bill designed to allow employers to decline providing medical coverage due to religious and moral convictions, and, his budget would end government funding for Planned Parenthood while drastically reducing spending on prenatal care and infant nutrition.
Although Ryan’s boss Mitt, has generally less strict beliefs on some of these issues, such as making exceptions for abortions in cases of rape, in 2010 Ryan stated, “I’m as pro-life as a person gets.”
The Sept. 26 letter writer may think these ideas and policies (typical of Republican attitudes) will not harm or limit women, but sites like VoteSmart.org and Politico, contain searing comments like those from Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York’s 14th Congressional District, in regard to Republican gender bias. She is quoted as saying, “There are many differences between the two candidates. From Medicare to Social Security, they’re oceans apart. While I understand the frustration with the political process, the belief that ‘there’s not a dimes worth of difference’ simply couldn’t be further from the truth.”
While the president says, “I trust women to make these decisions,” politicians like Ryan pursue policies favoring business interests over justice, regardless of validity. On women’s issues, Ryan remains faithful to conservative dogma to garner votes from his Republican base.
So, although we should all go ahead and check facts, we should also make sure we clearly understand what they mean.
Peter W. Johnson,