Will Work Work to Overturn the Supreme Court's Ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear

Promise Honored President Obama has kept the following promise:

"Obama will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' and women's ability to challenge pay discrimination." — Obama's Blueprint for Change

Other promises regarding civil rights.


Updated: January 30, 2009

Obama signs Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill to reach him as president on January 29, 2009. The new law establishes that wage discrimination cases filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are subject to a 180-day statute of limitations that refreshes with each paycheck.

Lilly Ledbetter, a former supervisor at a Goodyear tire plant in Alabama, sued the company after discovering several months before her 1998 retirement that, for years, she was paid less than her male counterparts. A jury awarded Ledbetter more than $3-million. But the Supreme Court overturned that judgment in March 2007, ruling 5 to 4 that a 180-day statute of limitation for her to file a lawsuit had started from the first instance of discrimination, meaning that her suit about more than a decade of discrimination was untimely.

The Democratic Congress took up Ledbetter's cause, drafting legislation that would set the clock running when the discriminatory action was discovered. But in April 2008, the Senate was unable to overcome a threat of filibuster. Then-candidate Obama even left the campaign trail to vote for the act; he later launched a mostly accurate attack against McCain for opposing the measure. Ledbetter appeared at the Democratic convention to praise Obama for supporting the measure, noting, "My case is over. I will never receive the pay I deserve. But there will be a far richer reward if we secure fair pay."

Obama included a vow to reverse the effects of the Ledbetter decision in a major campaign document, his "Blueprint for Change."

President Obama signed the Ledbetter Act, saying "Ultimately, equal pay isn't just an economic issue for millions of Americans and their families. It's a question of who we are and whether we're truly living up to our fundamental ideals."

It's rather ironic however that while signing this bill Obama broke another campaign promise to allow Five Days of Public Review and Comment before signing any bills.


White House Web site, post on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, accessed Jan. 30, 2009

Library of Congress THOMAS, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, accessed Jan. 29, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter Remarks at the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 26, 2008

U.S. Senate, Roll call vote on HR 2831, April 23, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court, Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., May 29, 2007

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