Wednesday, April 23, 2008

McCain's Ledbetter Stance and What It Portends for His Supreme Court Nominees

Mccain It really irks me when someone says to me that it doesn't matter whether a Republican or Democrat replaces President Bush because at the end of the day the bunch of them are all the same. Or someone who says, "if my Democratic candidate does not win, I'll vote for McCain. He ain't too bad."

I believe with all my heart that it absolutely does matter who one votes for in this election and McCain's Ledbetter stance says much about what his Supreme Court nominees might look like.  The AP reports that McCain didn't bother to vote today on the Ledbetter Bill cloture motion, but if he did, he remarked:

he opposes a Senate bill that seeks equal pay for women because it would lead to more lawsuits . . .

"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. "This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system."

Great, a private enterprise system that still pays women fractions on the dollar for what men get paid for doing the same job.  And ah, the oft-quoted justification for denying the civil rights of employees, students, and others - recognizing such a right will open the proverbial floodgates of litigation. 

Give me a break.  As I have argued elsewhere, there has been narry a time that the Court has predicted the forthcoming doom of the federal court system and that it has actually happened.  But McCain, who already has indicated to the Federalist Society that he would appoint more Robertses and Alitos, would continue a disturbing trend on the current Court of promoting anti-litigation Justices. (Cf. Andy Siegel's The Court Against the Courts: Hostility to Litigation as an Organizing Theme in the Rehnquist Court's Jurisprudence and Scott Moss's Fighting Discrimination While Fighting Litigation: A Tale of Two Supreme Courts.)

And as Moss and others have shown, an anti-litigation Supreme Court usually translates in the labor and employment area to carte blanche for employers and little civil rights and civil liberties protections for public and private employees.

No thanks to all that.


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Of course the fight for civil rights has involved more litigation. What's wrong with that? The civil rights movement was in large part fought in the courtrooms. What more important matter could be adjudicated in a courtroom than social justice and equal rights of people. Or are such matters to be left to the "private sector" where profits reign supreme? Good lord. For me, McCain has just gone from a moderate candidate who I was thinking of voting for to a nightmare that has me running for the exits. It shows me all I need to know about what lurks beneath his moderate-seeming exterior.

Posted by: Eugene D. Lee | Apr 24, 2008 7:08:45 AM

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