Nel's New Day

June 20, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court Defeats Women

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:36 PM

Sorry, Rick Perry. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to read about you. Today’s topic is the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision for Wal-Mart and against women—and a bit about our silent Justice Clarence Thomas.

In a major victory for Wal-Mart and much of corporate America, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the largest gender discrimination class action lawsuit in history with its unanimous ruling that a sex discrimination case against Wal-Mart cannot proceed as a class-action lawsuit in its current form. Worse, by a typical anti-rights 5-4 vote, the court also said there are too many women in too many jobs at Wal-Mart to wrap into one lawsuit.

Justice Antonin Scalia claimed that there was no proof that gender discrimination was common in the corporation’s retail stores. Lawyers for Wal-Mart had said that the number of plaintiffs was too great for the corporation to defend itself. Five of the justices agreed with them and  ignored the lawyer representing the women workers, Brad Seligman, who said that the suit was not a burden for Wal-Mart because of its centralized management system which showed patterns of discrimination across 41 regions.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dissented with Scalia, stating that both the statistics presented by the plaintiffs and their individual accounts demonstrated that “gender bias suffused Wal-Mart’s corporate culture.”  Women filled 70 percent of the hourly jobs but only 33 percent of management positions and that “senior management often refer to female associates as ‘little Janie Qs,’” she added.

“Today’s ruling underscores the need to act boldly and strongly on behalf of women’s rights: we must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said. “It is a matter of fundamental fairness in our nation, and we must work—in the courts and in Congress—to correct this injustice throughout our country.”

Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said, “The court has told employers that they can rest easy, knowing that the bigger and more powerful they are, the less likely their employees will be able to join together to secure their rights.”

Meanwhile Clarence Thomas’ hot seat is getting warmer. Disclosures yesterday show an “ethically sensitive friendship” with Dallas real estate magnate and GOP financier Harlan Crow which include the expensive gifts Crow has given Thomas, the $500,000 he donated to Thomas’ wife to start her lobbying business, and the multimillion-dollar donation for a museum at a cannery where Thomas’ mother worked. Fortunately for him, Supreme Court justices are not bound by the same code of conduct as other federal judges, a code that states jurists “should not personally participate” in raising money for charitable endeavors.

These ethical lapses are on top of Thomas’ failure to report his wife’s income on his financial disclosure forms (he said he forgot), his lies about his role at a political retreat for wealthy conservatives organized by the right-wing Koch Brothers where participants discussed legal strategies for overturning campaign finance laws (he said he didn’t), and his wife’s close contact with right-wing activist organizations (he said who cares). He’s also using his wealthy friends to fly around the country and stay in plush digs with no indication on his disclosure forms.

Four months ago Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) led 72 other colleagues in asking Thomas to recuse himself from any Supreme Court review of President Obama’s healthcare law because of the work that Thomas’ wife did in opposing that healthcare law. Weiner is gone because he lied in a situation dealing with sex. Thomas is still ruling against the rights of people despite his lies and fraudulent actions. Conservatives 1, liberals 0.

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