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Wow. The more we find out about this guy, the worse he looks.

As an assistant White House counsel in 1984, John Roberts scoffed at the notion that men and women should earn equal pay in jobs of comparable importance, and he belittled three female Republican members of Congress who promoted that idea to the Reagan administration.
The memo from Roberts, now President Bush's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, was a response to a letter that the three women - one of whom was Olympia Snowe of Maine, now a U.S. senator - had sent to the administration. The women had said that the concept of "equal pay for equal work" had not sufficiently boosted women's wages because women were not in many of the same fields as men. The three were promoting the notion of equal pay for different jobs of comparable value, based on factors such as skills and responsibility.

In his memo to White House counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts said the women's letter "contends that more is required because women still earn only $0.60 for every $1 earned by men, ignoring the factors that explain that apparent disparity, such as seniority, the fact that many women frequently leave the work force for extended periods of time. I honestly find it troubling that three Republican representatives are so quick to embrace such a radical redistributive concept. Their slogan may as well be, 'From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender.'"

"Radical redistributive concept". Lovely. Justice O'Connor was a tireless crusader for women rights in the workplace and schools. The contrast couldn't be starker.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 08:51 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You but not worth the fight? (none)
    AS I saw on MSNBC, Dems say its not worth the fight?  When will it be worth the fight?  After were sucked into a war on false pretenses?  Everyone for fighting Dems say HOO!!
    •  Biden (none)
      has suggested otherwise, particularly if the remainder of the documents aren't released.

      Roberts' comments on equal pay for women and his sentiment on the 'abortion tragedy' is enough to warrant widespread concern from Dems.

      Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. - Thomas Jefferson

      by jorndorff on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:07:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HOOOOOOO!!! (none)
      I hope that when the Dems say they think Roberts will be easily confirmed, I hope they are just playing nice for now, and raise objections later as dirt is dug up. We shall see.

      However, from stuff I've heard (like the above), and an informed guy on Al Franken's show yesterday, it sounds like they already have enough to make a major case that Roberts is way too extreme. What are the Dems up to? Are they just going to ignore Roberts extreme views and vote "yes" to confirm? I think we are probably heading for another situation where the Dem "leadership" lets us down.

      "Blogging doesn't make it so" - Rep. Hayworth (R) AZ 1/6/2005. Oh yeah?

      by bejammin075 on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:10:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When it will be worth the fight (none)
      As with all politicians, it will be worth the fight when enough constituents and constituent groups complain about it.  Until they fear for their job, it will be business as usual.
    •  Time to raise hell! (none)
      Call, write, fax, whatever, your senators and urge them to oppose this. Tell them what's at stake. Do Democrats really want to turn back the clock to the 50s and be considered anti-woman? Tell them it matters what they do with this! Is there something in that D.C. water that makes them so complacent?
    •  Hoo indeed. (4.00)
      The trouble is, and loath as I am to say it, Roberts was right at the time and right today. He was an asshole about it, but he was correct.

      Market forces set the rates paid for work. The more people who can and will do a particular job, the less that job pays. Roberts was arguing against having the govt step in and deciding which jobs should be worth how much pay. Take a concrete example: truck drivers are traditionally male and make quite a bit more than daycare workers, who are traditionally female. This is because though both jobs are difficult, tedious and stressful, driving an 18-wheeler takes more skill day in and day out than taking care of small children. You may disagree, but the fact is that child-care workers can be had for minimum wage, while driving a truck pays considerably more.

      There's nothing (structurally) preventing more women from learning to drive a truck and thus moving up the economic scale. And if there is some asshat trucking company out there who won't hire (or promote) women, or pay them the same wage as a man of comparable experience, that's when the govt has every right to step in. But having the govt decide that one job is "equivalent" to another leads to macroeconomic inefficiences (in this case, too many childcare workers) and raises prices for all of us.

      Now, you can believe that those inefficiences and their attendant costs are worthwhile because you privilege some abstract notion of "equal work." But I guarantee you that 80-85% of American voters will think you're nuts -- and this includes a big majority of women. All the R's have to do is ask "Who would make the decision of what consitutes equal work?" and you're toast. So use Roberts' offensive language as a way to get at his nomination, but using his reasoning is counterproductive. And I say this as someone who firmly believes that women and men of similar talent and experience should have the same advantages when it comes to hiring and promotion, in just about damn near every job.

  •  If Snowe votes yes after this, (4.00)
    then she has no business being in the U.S. Senate.

    "We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang seperately." - Ben Franklin

    by RandyMI on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 08:55:59 AM PDT

  •  Justice O'Connor (3.00)
    Was and is a felon who stole our election in 2000.  9/11, the war, all the rest--none would have happened with Al Gore.

    I don't care what people perceive this monster to be.  To me she'll always be one of the five architects who killed this country.

    We may never recover from Bush.  It doesn't look good, frankly.

    •  Ya know (none)
      I always thought it was a little odd how so many Democratic senators and pundits keep revering O'Connor as someone Bush's pick should emulate, that all of a sudden she was some great liberal pioneer.  I mean geez it's not like he's replacing Stevens (and hopefully won't in his tenure).
  •  Yep, (none)
    he looks worse by the day and yet the democratic establishment is once again ascending to a new pinnacle of pussilanimity:

    Roberts Unlikely To Face Big Fight

    By Mike Allen and Dana Milbank

    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Tuesday, August 16, 2005;

    Democrats have decided that unless there is an unexpected development in the weeks ahead, they will not launch a major fight to block the Supreme Court nomination of John G. Roberts Jr., according to legislators, Senate aides and party strategists.

    In a series of interviews in recent days, more than a dozen Democratic senators and aides who are intimately involved in deliberations about strategy said that they see no evidence that most Democratic senators are prepared to expend political capital in what is widely seen as a futile effort to derail the nomination.

    •  Dem Establsishment? (none)
      I suspect the majority of the Democratic establishment wants to fight this guy, however, there are about a half-dozen Senators who don't.  

      While that is hardly a majority of the "Dem Establishment," it's enough to make a fight nearly impossible to win (from a legislative or PR standpoint).  I think the Dems should fight, but I blame the dozen or so Senators, not the easy ambiguous "Democratic Establishment" target.

      •  It is not (4.00)
        "half-dozen senators". Wake up and realize that you've been solidly sold out:

        A 27-page document circulating among Republicans and conservatives compiles senators' public statements about Roberts to come up with what White House allies are calling their unofficial "whip count": 56 senators are positively inclined to support Roberts, with 44 of those solid and 12 senators leaning toward Roberts. That leaves 44 unknowns. But eight of those are Republicans who have made no public statement, and nine of them are Democrats who have made positive comments about Roberts's demeanor, intellect or integrity. So the pool of potential outright opponents could be as few as 27 senators, according to the Republican analysis.
        •  Premature (none)
          We've getting terribly ahead of ourselves here. It's as though there was a vote during a mid-August recess. A lot will change between now and the vote. To say that 27 senators have definitively voted for Roberts, particularly when there is so much that these Senators don't know about him, is very premature.

          Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. - Thomas Jefferson

          by jorndorff on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:31:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oops (none)
          I meant "dozen Senators" not half-dozen.  Got it right in the second part of my comment.

          Nonetheless, I hate it when people blame, "The Democratic Establishment" as if that's some sort of quantifiable entity or a cabal that gets together to make decisions.

          Let's face it, if 25% of the Democratic Senators don't want to fight this guy, we can't effectively fight.  Again, I think those 25% should fight it, but if they don't, I hardly think you can claim that 25% of Democratic Senators = "The Democratic Establishment" when 75% want to fight.

          •  Yep, (none)
            it is quite possible that 75% of democrats and liberals want to fight. But almost 75% of all elected democrats and their "gatekeepers" have caved in. Has the DLC or the DCCC issued a strong statement opposing Roberts? Has the democratic congressional caucus?
          •  Great Excuses for the Dem Establishment (none)
            - they don't have a building and an address, unless you count the offices on capitol hill peopled by senators and representatives making more than 99% of the public to shuffle around

            and create great excuses for not fighting this stupid nomination.

            "we can't fight cuz no one else is..."  = LEADERSHIP ???  

            if the boston globe and nyt were online from 1984 or 1986, it would take me about 3 minutes to find similar excuses for the caving the Dems did 20 years ago to Raygun. I don't recall the verbatim excuses, just the general nonsense coming from my congress critter at the time, Tip O'Neill.

            most of the quislings from that time have shuffled off hte mortal coil, to be replaced by our DLC Dems

            a generation born to affluence and privelage,

            a generation formed by the fires of spinelessness, kneelessness, and craven compromise,

            a generation dedicated to the proposition that they know better, AND, they better stay in charge.

            pco 36-1392 ballard, wa.

            Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders"

            by rmdewey on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:00:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  John Bolton (none)
        Remember that sweet guy?

        Mr Reid, are you alive?  Becuase I want a fucking answer as to how the filthy republicans and Bush are going pay for that recess appointment.

        You just got bent over and the troops want to know that the response will be.  Well, it turns out there was no response.

        After Bolton it would have been an absurdly simple sell to block Roberts based upon contempt of the Senate.  Yet, once again, there was no fight, no payment exacted in the least for Bolton.

        I see no indication whatsoever that anyone in the Sneate Democratic caucus wants to fight, let alone a majority.

        I'm going to say until I finally don't need to anymore and just leave:  unquestioned loyalty from Democratic constituencies is an offensive fantasy.  I want answers and results; for six years all I have got is total shit that drives me crazy.  I will not put up this shit forever.

        •  hmm (none)
          After Bolton it would have been an absurdly simple sell to block Roberts based upon contempt of the Senate.  
          Which is a losing strategy.  Republicans will dominate the media, and talk about revenge politics, and how a fine candidate - harvard grad, fine lawyer, great record in front of the court, etc - is being smeared by Democrats.  It'll be a big disaster.

          The fact is regarding Bolton, there is no response available.  A recess apointment is the final bomb.  It's over.  Done.  There is nothing Reid or any other Democrat can do in protest that won't hurt them further and risk the "nuclear option".

          Democrats in the Senate are a minority, and they are facing a tough 2006 election cycle.  They have to hedge against the idea that they may be in a minority small enough that they can't even fillibuster.  It's remote, but it could happen.    

          •  It's not how you lose, it's how you fight (4.00)
            One can either step aside and let the base down (again), or fight and lose.  Again.

            I don't care that they lose--hell, I'm an Oakland A's fan, hombre--but I do care a great deal that they don't fight.

            "Losing strategy."  Interesting.  What exactly have the Democrats won in the last six years?

            At some point refined strategy over every battle becomes useless.  One looks over the record and sees that all battles but one [social security] have ben abdicated.

            See the problem?  We stand for nothing.  Polling consistently says Democrats are perceived as weak and needing to stand for something.

            Go ahead, lose.  I'll be there with everything I have until my last breath.  But if I don't see a real fight soon I'll just be a loyal, clammed up soldier for Louise Slaughter.  I'll finish my committment to her and never come back again.

            MeteorBlades mailed me after the election, making sure I would stay.  He is the only reason I am still here.  I simply cannot mentally serve leaders who cannot fight.  I just can't.  I think my time in the screens is very short; we shall see.

            •  They did fight on Bolton (none)
              What else can a 45-seat minority party do but prevent a vote and force a recess appointment?
              •  Make them PAY for that recess appointment (none)
                This fight was done well, but ultimately it's a failure.

                Bush said fuck you and obviated the Senate with that recess appointment.  Far as I know, there was no response from Reid.

                That's just incredible.  Look, keep firmly in mind that policy is a subtle, complicated business with lots of nuance.  Politics, however, is a crude, bluntly crafted message meant to bust through media noise, seize the agenda and put your opponent on the defensive.  It's not complicated; so must be the messaging.

                Fuck me?  Fuck you.  Mr Roberts is up for a nomination?  Gut it down, kill it now, on a technicality.  Hold it up and fillibuster.

                Go ahead, try a recess appointment again.  You'll never get a supreme court nominee as long as Bolton is at the UN.

                End of story.  Instead Reid looks weak and abused--so he will be again.  In politics you cannot take a hit like that and just sit there.  What has just taking it got us the last six years?

                •  there is no response (none)
                  Far as I know, there was no response from Reid.
                  There is no response.  Reid et all are out of cards.  Get it?  Anything else is just words.  WORDS with no meaning dull his ability to fight winnable battles.

                  You'll never get a supreme court nominee as long as Bolton is at the UN.

                  And then Bush will (1) pound Democrats as obstructionists to the highest non-political job in the country and (2) pound Democrats as anti-judicial indepdence and (3) then give Roberts a recess appointment to the SCOTUS.

                  Then what can you do?  Roberts is on SCOTUS, Reid looks doubly impotent - on Roberts and on Bolton, and Reid has an image problem to deal with.

                  There is a line between being an effective minority party and sabotaging yourself.  The fact is that most people wouldn't support a fillibuster of a SCOTUS nominee unless for the most pure motives.  And if Reid defies public opinion on that the GOP will use that to pressure Democrats into condeming Reid's leadership just before the election, and more Democrats will lose.

                  All it takes is a net loss of 5 seats and the Democrats are absolutely fucked.  I mean it.  Zero power.  Absolutely zero power.  If that happens Bush can nominate a 25-year old Federalist Society member to the SCOTUS and there will be nothing - no one thing - that anyone in the whole country could do to stop him.  Then what?  

        •  Great comment! (none)
          Share your anger and frustration!
  •  Olympia Snowe is a coward (none)
    She'll vote for this guy anyway.  No chance in hell she'll oppose him... even though if you had asked her at the time of the letter whether someone who disagreed that women deserve equal pay for equal jobs should be on the Supreme Court, she would have said, "NO!"

    Even if at one time she had some guts, she, like all Republicans, has lost her way.

    •  well in fairness (none)
      In fairness what Snowe and the others was suggesting was not "equal pay for equal work", but "jobs", which is not accepted now as how it should be, let alone 20+ years ago.

      That is a pretty interesting idea, but it is a radical departure from "equal work, equal pay".  Creating a system of equivalencies between industries and job roles to come up with what is "equal pay" would be very difficult and probably rather complex, would you not agree?  

      Anyways, Snowe is a tenuous Republican.  She is pushed between Mainers who traditionally are Independent/Democrat leaners.  She has the threat of a right-wing challenge and strong Democrat challenge.  Not an easy situation.

      But still, she is a coward.

      •  Exactly (none)
        Kos isn't making a fair analogy. I'm just going off his post, but it sure sounds like what Roberts opposed was the idea that the government should decide whether two jobs (even in entirely different industries) are "equal", and then enforce pay scales on employers. So for example a junior accountant in an electric utility might be compared to a paralegal in a law firm, and because the jobs require comparable skill levels and experience, the government could step in and accuse one or the other of underpaying their employees.

        I for one would agree that this is not a proper role of government. It would be something else entirely if Roberts had been writing to oppose equal pay for men and women in the same job functions (e.g. a man and a woman, both junior accountants, should receive the same pay), but that isn't apparently what this was about.

        Real soldiers are dying in their Hummers, so that Republicans can play soldier in theirs

        by coldeye on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:09:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One should also note (none)
          That however one might disagree with motive behind his argument, he did get one thing correct: a percentage of the wage disparity was/is based on the fact that the people in the most senior positions and thus higher pay, which skews the results a lot, generally were/are men.

          Note that this isn't necessarily the result of intentional gender bias either.  To use an example I, and Kos, should be familiar with, take the military.  You have to serve an extended period of time in order to advance to the highest officer ranks.  Which means, in order to see what percentage of female officers at a given rank you'd expect, you can't look at ratios of men to women now but what it was when that cadre entered the military, what percentage of men and women stayed in, so on and so forth.

          Twenty-one years ago it would have been perfectly truthful to point out that the vast majority of CEOs, board members, foremen (forepersons?), shift supervisors and so on were men.  Now that was a combination of social reality and gender bias but even if you magically waved away glass ceilings and provided good daycare and whatever else, it would still be a long time before the pay levels evened up as women worked their way through the system.

      •  Yeah (none)
        To do this, you would basically have to institute wage controls, or allow people to sue companies because a laundry worker makes less than a truck driver or something.  I'm not in favor of such a scheme.
      •  Also ... (none)
        ... let's not forget that all these comments were made as a young lawyer in the Reagan administration.  It's not as though he was 35, or even 40, when he wrote these memos.  I'm 25, and I know 25-year-olds have some youthful exuberance in them, so I'm willing to cut a nominee some slack for outlandish comments/views he or she made/had at 25.  After all, John Kerry was 27 when he made incendiary comments about the Vietnam War.

        What's important is how the nominee reflects on those views today.  If a nominee can't repudiate or even acknowledge some of those views he had at a young age, and then show growth in those views (which is why the Solicitor General's memos are so important), then there's a very serious problem.

      •  Completely irrelevant (none)
        Why are you doing the Republicans' bidding here?

        Your response has nothing to do with my point.

        Olympia Snowe took a position about a strongly felt issue for her.  Regardless of how you characterize that issue, Roberts was highly dismissive of her position.  I'm saying she's such a coward that she'll promote this guy to the Supreme Court anyway.  Hell, she probably won't make a peep out of it.

        So please tell me, how is Olympia Snowe any less cowardly because he dismissed her deeply felt belief that women should receive equal pay for equal jobs rather than equal pay for equal work?  I don't see why it matters as a reply to my point.

        •  conjecture (none)
          First off, I have no problem agreeing with Republicans when and if they are right.

          Second, your post is nothing but conjecture.

          her deeply felt belief
          You have no idea.  This was one letter.  Are you sure it was a deeply held belief?  She's been my Senator for a long time and she hasn't expressed it since.  Maybe it was a proposal she was floating for feedback.  Maybe she's decided it's a bad idea.  Maybe she never really was all in on it anyways.

          Roberts was highly dismissive of her position
          Because it was and is a stupid position.

          I'm saying she's such a coward that she'll promote this guy to the Supreme Court anyway.
          Which is a wrong attitude.  The Senate's job is not to promote people to the SCOTUS with whom they've never had a disagreement.  Disagreement is okay.  It's healthy.

          Hell, she probably won't make a peep out of it.
          Probably not.  Why?  It was decades ago.  It was a stupid idea.  He wrote a behind the scenes memo criticizing a stupid idea.  Big deal.

  •  Lovely... (none)
    So Roberts in this letter is basically equating feminism with socialism/communism?  His excuse will be "callow youth" or something along those lines, but geez.  Of course, our "strong" Senatorial delegation has already let them know that they'll be wearing their nicest white linen gloves when dealing with this joker.
    According to the leadership there's no point to a losing fight against Roberts.  Yes, by God, there is.  If for no other reason, then to point out shit like this.  That language choice is a very careful one; it almost sounds like Roberts is a closet McCarthyist.  I know that the spectre of Communism was larger in the 80s (especially in Reagan's office) but comparing members of your own party to the godless Communists is kinda pathological.
    Oh, and Johnnie Boy?  It's not considered "radical redistribution" to make sure that workers are compensated according to ability, responsiblity and performance.  That's merit-based pay, which your party seems to believe is the answer to all government inefficiencies.  You just seem to think that gender somehow is more important than that, because you unequivocally supported a woman being paid just a little over half what a man makes.
    Would that we had a fighting Senate delegation.

    "democracy in a republican era - like a police state run by the criminally insane on a schedule set by cable news shows." ~skippy, the bush kangaroo

    by jjhare on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:00:28 AM PDT

    •  No (none)
      he is not equating "feminism with socialism/communism", he is equating a just demand for fair pay for women to socialism/communism.
      •  um... (none)
        that's a fundamental feminist concept.  So yes, by extension, he was equating feminism with socialist/communist ideology.

        *Springsteen for President*

        by hrh on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:36:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He was (none)
          doing something WORSE than equating feminism to communism. Feminism encompasses a broader set of principles than the more urgent and just demand for  fair pay for women. He was ridiculing the latter.
          •  feminism (none)
            I don't know what your idea of feminism is, but mine is quite traditional and its tenets are all as "urgent and just" as fair pay for women.

            Methinks you've had your concept of feminism sullied by propagandists somewhere.

            *Springsteen for President*

            by hrh on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:03:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Putting (none)
              food on the table is more urgent than having a woman president, wouldn't you say? Anyway, I dont want to take this thread along a tangent. And, we are way much more in agreement with each other than either of us is with the chauvinists. So no need to go implying I am susceptible to "propaganda".
  •  is this concept still alive? (none)
    i remember this debate form the 80s...has it been settled (eg do female schoolteachers in akron make the same salary as potato farmers in idaho?) or is it still contentious?

    from each according to his means, to each according to his needs

    by dummy on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:00:47 AM PDT

    •  it's not (none)
      It's not accepted; the general policy when examining unequal pay cases is that the work has to be materially the same.  What seems to be advocated in the memo in question is a system of equivalency between similiar jobs.

      The argument was that women don't do some of the same jobs as men in the same numbers so we should create a system for balancing out pay.  I couldn't find examples, but it'd be something like "Most seamstresses are women and most tailors are men, since the jobs entail the same type of work and the same scope of responsbility they should be compensated about equally; the fact that tailors make 50% more than seamstresses is proof of discrimination against women; therefore, seamstresses should be compensated 50% more than now".

      It's an interesting idea, but one that has lots of variables.  One problem is measuring how similiar two jobs are.  Another is assessing if the reason the pay is different is because of sex, or for other reasons.  

      •  Not Even Similar Jobs (none)
        Actually, the comparable worth theory went well beyond comparing seamstresses to tailors. Its proponents would have bureaucrats or judges compute the value of librarians and the value of plumbers (and every other job) and pay them based on the basis of their computed value.

        Title VII & the Equal Pay Act already provided equal pay for equal work, or substantially equal work. It was an incredible stretch to suggest that those laws were a basis for imposing the comparable worth theory on employers. It was tossed by the 9th Circuit, which was upheld by the S. Ct.  

  •  thats a rather snarky response. Not terribly (none)
    'lawyerly' or 'nice guy'.

    Reigning Welterweight Female Piefighter since 1998

    by ablington on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:00:47 AM PDT

  •  move over Larry Summers! n/t (none)
  •  I believe (4.00)
    we need to exert some pressure on our Senators. This morning's WaPo tells us that a fight is unlikely.

    From what I've seen of the released Reagan-era papers, the younger Roberts had disturbing tendencies to sexism and racism. Maturity might have squashed these leanings, but I sure want this explored in the confirmation hearings.

    lib·er·al: Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:04:59 AM PDT

    •  Equal opportunity asshole (none)
      Remember, the librarians "lost" the folder of Roberts' notes on affirmative action -- oops! -- so we can't be sure exactly how racist he is. Then again, we're only talking about some uppity minorities and women, right? If everyone else is happy, he's doing his job.

      "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

      by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:18:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Roberts Logic (3.00)
    In his memo to White House counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts said the women's letter "contends that more is required because women still earn only $0.60 for every $1 earned by men, ignoring the factors that explain that apparent disparity, such as seniority, the fact that many women frequently leave the work force for extended periods of time.


    If you owned you own business and stopped having babies, then you'd be able to make do with that $0.60.

    I can't believe this guy may become a Supreme Court Justice.


    ITSALONGWAYTOGO when you don't know where you're going; you don't where you're going when you're lost...

    by Omen on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:06:59 AM PDT

    •  To be fair (none)
      I think the translation is "if you stopped leaving the workforce to have babies, you'd have the seniority to earn the $1.00."  Not much better, though.
      •  No, (4.00)
        the correct translation is:

        If you have a womb you're only worth 60 cents on the dollar.

      •  Exactly (none)
        In theory, I support Roberts here -- obviously if two equally skilled people have worked for a company from 2000-2005, but one of those people took six months off in 2001 and seven months off in 2004, then they should obviously earn less if pay is tied to seniority.  It shouldn't matter whether they're male or female.  In practice, of course, it's not like that's the only factor that contributes to women making less than men, and it's silly to think the 33% difference is ONLY due to babies.  But I find nothing particularly offensive in his point, as stated, assuming that's what he actually believes.
        •  it's not unreasonable if (3.50)
          In some jobs is more unreasonable than others, it really depends.

          A job with a vendor I work with requires extensive training on speciality hardware; to be trained you have to travel overseas for 4-8 weeks every 18-24 months.  Hiring someone for the job is a big risk; the initial training period is close to 16 weeks and can cost the company 40-50k.  Since it's such a niche machine no pool of pre-trained workers exist.

          The vendor has been screwed twice by hiring women who expressed no interest in taking time off for a family at the time of hiring; and then who both left for maternity leave - once 12 months after being hired (she was pregnant 4 months after being hired, on her return from training), and another 2 years after being hired.  Obviously you can't fault them for changing their mind, but it's a serious expense.  Either they have to hire a second person then train that person for 4 months and pay them for 12 months so they can cover 6 months of maternity leave or they have to leave the machine idle.  In both cases they were forced to leave the machine idle - losing business and letting the machine depreciate without benefit.

          Now what can be done here for the company? If they refuse to hire women they will face discrimination lawsuits.  The state prohibits employment contracts that discriminate based on disability (which pregnancy is classified as).  You can't only hire women who are past child-bearing age, because you will face age discrmination charges.

          These situations are real.  It sucks.  The law says that when the women in question come back from maternity leave they have to be offered the same seniority and benefits and pay, even though they may have cost the company serious amounts of money.  

          A final example.  My wife is out of maternity leave.  She started at the same time as other co-workers in similiar positions.  They recently recieved yearly pay increases and reviews, but my wife will not receive hers until 6 months after she returns.  Therefore, for the same work - same job - she will receive 90 cents on the dollar to her male and single female counterparts.  Has she faced discrimination?

          Yes, in a way.  Is it illegal discrimination?  Potentially - she could probably get a good lawyer and fight for that pay differential.

          •  Excellent (none)
            Situations such as the above highlight the key difference between the way conservatives and liberals view labor issues.  The conservatives generally side with the business owners, and support positions which would help companies even at the expense of workers.  The liberals generally side with the employees, and support positions which would help workers even at the expense of the company's success and profits.  Either position, taken to extremes, can be dreadful.  The conservative argument is that if businesses can make decisions allowing the best profit possible, everyone (including the workers) benefits in a capitalist society.  This appeals to my logical, Ayn Randish side, but unfortunately is dependent on the same "good of man" idealism that trickle-down economics requires, which we know is flawed.  So in general, I tend to side -- though perhaps not strongly -- with the liberal and Democratic views on labor, which I suppose can best be paraphrased as "it's not going to kill you to pay your employees a little more and the millionaire owners a little less, and has the pleasing upside of making the country a happier, healthier place, with workers who actually are proud to work for your company rather than resent and complain about it."
            •  true (none)
              It is the basic difference between liberal and illiberal views of labor.

              But there is more at issue.

              For one, if you pay someone out on maternity leave the same when they come back as if she never left, what does that say to the employees (men and non-child bearing women) who stay and work?  You are treating specially perhaps 10% of your employees.  How does it make them feel that the raises and pay they earned are given away to other workers who did not earn it?

              Secondly, for small business, it can really add up.  Maternity leave is a very expensive proposition for small business.  For one, you are generally required to keep benefits going even if you offer unpaid leave.  That means that the employer must cover 100% of the health care costs for that worker entirely out of pocket.  If you hire a replacement your costs go even higher.

              I've been in that postion from the business end, and it's no fun at all!  Seriously, it's very stessful on the bottom line.  When you are dealing with a payroll of, say, $400,000 a year having two employees out on maternity leave can cause major business disruptions.  It's not a matter of paying a little more to make it a happy workplace, it's a matter of survival.

              •  And in a nutshell (none)
                that's why we need universal, govt' funded healthcare, maternity leave, and child care assistance.

                Think about it -- you and everybody else might pay a bit more in taxes, but when a worker goes on maternity leave not only can you hire a temporary replacement, you don't have to pay the new mother's salary (maybe a percentage of it). But you still don't lose them, because they'd be able to come back without spending their entire salary on childcare.

                Think what it would do for small business in this country.

          •  Yes, that happens (none)
            and it will happen even MORE if a SCOTUS with Roberts on board severely limits abortion and contraception.

            This was always the number one reason given by employers to not hire women:  they might get pregnant and leave.  It's why old ladies who remember this stuff, like me, tell younger Kossacks, again and again, that contraceptive and abortion rights are absolutely key to women. Without them, you can't defend your position in the workplace.

            Presumably, the women in your case chose to be pregnant, in which case there is an argument that they should at least have included the employer in the planning of the pregnancy/absence.  

            Put Roberts on the court, and women will be back working for 60cents again.  Even now, it's something like 75cents.

  •  I do republicans ONE better (none)
    I say we put a liberal in who is willing to take less money, thus saving the government money.  Who needs this high priced Roberts anyway?
  •  Extreme Circumstances? (none)
    I wonder exactly what will have to be revealed about this guy that will be sufficient enough to trigger the "extreme circumstances" clause of the filibuster deal. Even if Dems choose not to filibuster this guy after all, I expect the majority of Dem senators to vote against this guy. Any Dem other than Lieberman who votes for this guy should be called to account.

    Dick Cheney to Teacher: "W. ate my homework."

    by Cleveland Dem on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:16:02 AM PDT

  •  Um... (4.00)
    I hate to sound a contrary sentiment here, but what exactly is so evil about opposing this?

    From my (granted, cursory) understanding of the proposal -- which was DOA anyway -- it wanted to have some sort of equivalency metric that could be applied to different jobs at one company. So, say "Truck Driver" would be rated as somehow equal to "Laundry Worker".

    Now, whether or not it is a good thing to somehow pay people the same rate if their doing the same job (and I think it is), this whole thing seems impossible to implement. Who's to say driving a truck shouldn't pay more than working as a file clerk? Let the market determine who gets paid more in specific jobs. That Roberts opposed something in 1984 that never became law anyway -- and on the grand scheme of things, seems like a pretty hairbrained idea to begin with, is somehow "terrible" and he should be opposed for it. Um... okay.

    The hysteria over this nomination coming from Kos and others strikes me as largely contrived and lacking in perspective. All the crap going on in the world and Roberts is what you're worried about? Like a different nominee is going to be any better? He's nominating someone -- and it's either this guy or some other guy like him. All your opposition does is waste your credibility with those in the middle. Save it for the 2006 elections.  

    Mastering the difference between 'need' and 'greed' will determine humanity's survival.

    by Taylor on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:16:26 AM PDT

    •  It's the rhetoric (4.00)
      I agree that policing/enforcing equal pay for equal work in the way Snowe and C. suggest would be difficult, if not impossible. However, look at Roberts' rationale -- it's not the same as your more reasoned question. Equal pay for equal work is RADICAL? And women should expect to earn less because they don't have seniority (wonder why?) and they DO have babies? Particularly with those last two points, he's supporting the glass ceiling all by himself.

      "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

      by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:22:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What did Snowe suggest? (none)
        Roberts' description of it is part of the proble.He lied.

        The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

        by Armando on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:39:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All I have to go on (none)
          ... is the words of Kos' post, so maybe I'm out of line in my interpretation of it. I was referring to the request of Snowe and co., that certain jobs be paid equally to other work requiring similar experience/effort, as described above, not to another source. I support the idea (and ideal), but I agreed with the previous poster that it would be extremely difficult to implement; however, I found Roberts' response to the women's request snarky and sexist regardless.

          "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

          by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:48:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe the means are radical, not the goal (none)
        To be fair, the radical part may be the implication that something external to the market (ie. the federal government) would have to enforce rigid wage controls in order to achieve the desired end. How else can you ensure that truck drivers and laundry workers make the same amount?
      •  Add to this the established fact (none)
        Equal pay for equal work is RADICAL? And women should expect to earn less because they don't have seniority (wonder why?) and they DO have babies? Particularly with those last two points, he's supporting the glass ceiling all by himself

        that there's wide bi-partisan support for the notion that the state not only can but should compel women to carry to term against their wills and what you have is a 'moral' and economic system which relegates women, all women,, to second class status and for most women, biblical roles as walking incubators, masturbatory devices and a source of cheap or free labor.
        Neat huh?
        The democrats will have to excuse us if we don't provide a source of volunteer labor or campaign financing; we'll be busy trying to survive.

        "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

        by colleen on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:39:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Glad somebody else said it first (none)
      The hysteria over this nomination coming from Kos and others strikes me as largely contrived and lacking in perspective. All the crap going on in the world and Roberts is what you're worried about? Like a different nominee is going to be any better? He's nominating someone -- and it's either this guy or some other guy like him. All your opposition does is waste your credibility with those in the middle. Save it for the 2006 elections.


      "Equal pay for equal work" was always a bullshit concept, even if it meant well.  Roberts was absolutely correct to raise objections to the concept, given how difficult and arbitrary the notion of "equal" actually is.

      The real gender equality issue when it comes to wages has to do with things like different starting salaries for recent graduates as well as, of course, the "glass ceiling".  But Roberts said nothing about that.  

      If liberals are spoiling for a fight against Roberts, they are on MUCH firmer ground on privacy rights as well as Commerce Clause jurisprudence.  Calling him a sexist because he opposed "Equal pay for equal work" will backfire big time.

      •  Glad you endorsed it (none)
        So that people can see who agrees with that type of thogt.

        The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

        by Armando on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:39:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is getting boring (3.00)
          people can see who agrees with that type of thogt (sic)

          You mean a liberal Democrat like me?

          Here's a bit of advice, Armando:  When you've got something productive to say, say it and we'll hash out the issues.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

      •  not so hard (none)
        Roberts was absolutely correct to raise objections to the concept, given how difficult and arbitrary the notion of "equal" actually is.

        Gosh, I don't see why the notion of "equal" is so problematic.

        Ensure that men and women have equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of their gender.  What is so fucking difficult and arbitrary about that?

        I don't care much about what Snowe proposed or what Roberts objected to in it.  I care about the way he phrased his objections, alluding sneeringly to Marxist doctrine, as though working toward equal pay for women is some kind of raving pinko commie plot.  Very telling.  Fuck him.

        *Springsteen for President*

        by hrh on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:47:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well (none)
          What is so fucking difficult and arbitrary about that?
          Besides what else you said, ensuring equal opportunity is very, very, very difficult, and often very much arbitrary.

          The fact is that there are so many variables to consider in determining when you've provided equal opportunity, or when two people are working "equal jobs" or whatever that it's almost impossible to do.

          Depending on the geographic area, industry, education level, experience, gender and race of the people involved pay equity in this country ranges from excellent to poor.  There are just so many variables that it's nearly impossible to quantify in a way that is fair and consistent.

          The combination of legal preference, illegal bias & discrimination, market forces and timing make it so hard to figure out who is being wronged and who is legitimately paid what they are worth.  

          •  I agree (none)
            Yes, ensuring equal opportunity is difficult and sometimes arbitrary, but discriminating against women is far more arbitrary - if much easier.

            Regardless, what you say is evading the real issue here, which is that BradTheDad condoned Roberts' comments declaring that the discrepancies between men's and women's salaries have perfectly legitimate causes.

            *Springsteen for President*

            by hrh on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:35:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  mostly agree (none)
              To the extent that exist today it is pretty minor and localized.

              To the extent that it existed in 1982 it was not minor or localized.  There were in fact legitimate causes, but there were many many cases of illegal wage discrimination.

          •  How about (none)
            daycare.  Almost solely a woman's job.

            If you run a day care with about 30 employees, you get paid peanuts.  You are required to have at least an undergraduate degree in early childhood ed and perhaps a master's as well.

            Last I got an update from a friend's daughter, (about 1 yr ago) she was making under 30K in that situation.

            How do you justify this underpayment?

            It has nothing to do with seniority.  The daughter is the most senior employee in the place.  It has nothing to do with pregnancy.  She is in her mid 30's and has never married.  

            It has to do with the fact that this is a pink ghetto job.

            Snowe et. al. were trying to deal with this problem.  Now all the Dems say, No Problem At All.

            Go figger.

        •  Here's the problem (none)
          Gosh, I don't see why the notion of "equal" is so problematic.

          There is no problem with equal.  There is a problem with defining unequal jobs as equal.  If jobs that are predominantly done by women are paid less than those predominantly done by men, it isn't necessarily societal sexism that is causing that disparity.  It could be, as Roberts surmised, that there are fewer senior people in jobs that are held by women, thus depressing the overall average.  If women leave certain professions to have children, that means those professions will have a lower level of seniority on average, depressing the average wage.  Or it could reflect supply and demand for different types of workers.  

          The "equal pay for equal work" campaign would have glossed over all these factors and arbitrarily assigned "equality" to different jobs based on bureaucratic fiat.  As such, it constituted unacceptable interference in the labor market.  Hence the allusions to Marxism.

          Ensure that men and women have equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of their gender.  What is so fucking difficult and arbitrary about that?

          This is an entirely different matter.  Any fair-minded person should believe that men and women should have equal opportunity. When new male and female law graduates are hired by the same firm, they should make the same amount of money.  When a female becomes a head nurse, she should make the same amount as a male head nurse.  A 40-year old male janitor should probably make about the same as a 40-year old female janitor.  And so on.

          The "equal pay for equal work" idea would have extended this concept beyond reasonable boundaries.  That's why it died.

          •  you missed the point (none)
            of Roberts' comments.  He was clearly saying, "Yes, men's salaries are higher than women's, and the reasons for that are all legitimate.  There is no reason to change anything, everything is perfect just the way it is.  So move along now, nothing to see here."  The typical conservative apologia for discrimination that I've been hearing my entire life.

            If you want to back that viewpoint, have at it.

            *Springsteen for President*

            by hrh on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:39:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I see it differently (none)
              His biggest objection is with the remedy being proposed.

              And you're not saying anything about the substance of his arguments, which are that discrimination is not the cause of the problem.  You're equating this view with an "apologia for discrimination", which is totally unfair.

              •  nope (none)
                It's right there in his comments - he doesn't see any problem, so there's no need for any remedy.

                As I said, it's the usual conservative party line regarding gender discrimination.  The line moves a little as time goes on and the face of society changes, but the same mentality is there.  There's no problem, it's just the way the world is.  Why, there's no gender discrimination here - women just don't want to take high-stress jobs, even if they pay better!  Or if they do, they leave to have babies, so companies are well within their rights not to hire women!  And the reason you never see women race car drivers or heart surgeons isn't because they're being kept out of the professions - it's that they're physically incapable!

                Boo, hiss.

                *Springsteen for President*

                by hrh on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:20:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why are those arguments so unreasonable? (none)
                  Now it is perfectly true that conservatives have turned a blind eye to real prejudice, sexual and otherwise.  You are absolutely correct there.  But pay is an area where the reasons for the gender disparity are complex, and multilayered.  As such, remedies that increase the fairness of the system are hard to come by.  Therefore, we are wise to be very cautious.

                  Discrimination means taking someone perfectly capable and either not hiring them or not promoting them simply because of their gender, before anything else is known about them.

                  But the real world is hardly ever that clear cut.  It's simply a fact that women are less drawn to highly competitive fields like heart surgery that demand total commitment.  To argue, as you seem to, that this is ONLY due to prejudice and discrimination is essentially to argue that there is no difference between the sexes.  If that's what you think, you are going against most of the research that has looked into this.

                  •  wow (none)
                    I can't believe we're having this conversation on a progressive blog.

                    It's simply a fact that women are less drawn to highly competitive fields like heart surgery that demand total commitment.

                    Emphasis mine.  See, here's the problem: in my post, I referred to the near-total lack of women throughout history in specialized professions such as heart surgery and car racing.  In your post, you talk about women being less-drawn to these fields.  Huge, HUGE difference there.

                    If this were truly about women being "less drawn" to these fields, we would expect to see some women in these fields.  But there were none - until society began changing and the powers-that-be began to accept women in these positions and give them the necessary training.  Then, suddenly, they began appearing.  Miracle of miracles!  And now there are quite a few.  My husband is a surgeon and there are plenty of younger women surgeons, many of whom are cardiovascular surgeons.  Try telling them that women aren't suited for or capable of this career, because of some crackbrained concept of "difference between the sexes".

                    But the real world is hardly ever that clear cut.

                    Oh, yes it is.  Discriminatory views of women go extremely deep in our society and affect EVERYTHING.  We think we're so rational and enlightened now, but we still keep hearing prejudiced arguments like yours: "She has boobs and a twat, therefore she can't handle a job that demands total commitment."  What a crock of shit.

                    *Springsteen for President*

                    by hrh on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 02:55:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (2.55)
      What a bullshit description of the concept from you.

      You don't give a shit about gender doscrmination it is obvious.

      Of course people will say I am distorting your views and maybe I am, but after your bullshit distortion you have nothing to complaint about.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:38:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow (none)
        Point well argued.

        You really combed through the legal arguments and pointed out the flaws in his reasoning, leading us to conclude that your position is the better one.

        Your knee has some of the best reflexes I've ever seen.

        "It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become victims of the darkness." -William O. Douglas

        by progressive pete on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:05:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good will come of this... (none)
    I am glad to see that the Roberts nomination is raising the women's rights component of the core Democratic value of human rights above and beyond the abortion only issue that the GOP likes to use to pigeon hole and demonize the human rights issue with.
  •  My SUPPORT JUSTICE - STOP JOHN ROBERTS sticker... (none)
    looks great on the front window of my house.

    It's right under the SAVE ROE printout.


    Enemies are so stimulating. - Katharine Hepburn

    by califdweller on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:20:21 AM PDT

  •  So what would you have? (none)
    Taking the other extreme, you would have a new college grad woman earning as much as an experienced male with 20 years on the job?

    So experience has no value? Where I work, experience, skill, and quality is ALL that matters in determining salary. I have a number of women who work for me that earn MORE than males of the same/similar age, doing the same job--the difference is that they have more skill and/or do a better job. I reward them for that. Likewise, I have  women of the same age and similar qualifications, but in some cases, the have taken leaves to have/raise a family. That's perfectly okay, but then the one that takes leave ends up having less experience on the job which ends up in their getting a lower salary over time. They understand this and that's a price they're willing to pay. It would be unfair to the individual who stayed on to receive the same amount as the other did, just to satisfy your sense of fairness.

    •  If men could give birth.... (none)
      ...things would be totally different.


      Enemies are so stimulating. - Katharine Hepburn

      by califdweller on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:22:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody said anything (none)
      about college grads making the same as execs right from the get-go. And your policy on childbirth basically guarantees that any woman working for you who chooses to bear children will never advance her career as far as a woman who doesn't. Her smaller salary will also make it harder for her to afford the childcare necessary to make up for lost time.

      "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

      by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:28:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Read my comment again... (none)
        I was using it as an example of taking the other extreme position.

        "My policy" does not penalize women who have children and take leave under FMLA (or any other type of leave where they would be out for just a few months)--that doesn't significantly change their experience. I was referring to women who take a few years off (yes...I rehire some of them if they were good employees). And yes, it may indeed set them back relative to someone who doesn't take leave. That's called job experience and it has a real value. That's precisely why the comment Roberts made is not so totally off the wall.

        There are no doubt a lot of companies/people that will try to pay one person less than another for lots of reasons--even gender. I'm even aware of companies run by women (or managed by a woman) where preferential treatment (salary, hours, etc.) is given to women. I find all of that wrong. But Roberts was only pointing out (perhaps crudely) that you just can't base salary on the "equal work--equal pay" premise. There are lots of reasons why different people doing the same job get paid different amounts (granted, not all of them valid). Assuming you work for a living, you are no doubt aware of salary disparities where you work--are all of them without merit?

        •  "granted, not all of them valid" (none)
          .... and I support people, laws and organizations who do what they can to rectify those invalid imbalances. I don't simply accept them, and, as a single mother, this idea of penalizing women for bearing children is particularly offensive to me.

          I work in academia, where the problem is not inequalities in salary among new professors, but instead in the unfortunate fact that most female academics spend their childbearing years trying to finish their degrees, and then get tenure. So these debates are open everywhere, in different forms. The institution I work for just voted to de-unionize its teaching assistants and adjuncts, one of the most unfairly exploited skilled labor forces in the country, a move I radically opposed (anyone who follows labor news will know what I'm talking about).  

          "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

          by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:58:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  hmmm (3.50)
            I don't simply accept them, and, as a single mother, this idea of penalizing women for bearing children is particularly offensive to me.
            Society should encourage child bearing among responsible women, absolutely.

            But frankly as a businessperson I can tell you I don't care about child bearing.  When an employee wants to take a few years off I couldn't care less the reason.  I am not going to review that person in a few years and pretend that he/she isn't out two or three years experience.

            I had a male employee leave and go work as a missionary for a two+ years.  When he came back he wanted his old salary plus raises and what he thinks he would have earned in merit pay.  He wanted to be right where his co-workers who stayed around and did the work ended up.  My opinion is that good for him - he did something fullfilling, but I am not going to pay him for it like he was here working.  He was two years out of date, and as such, re-hiring him was very expensive for me: I had to front-load his re-training (money I already spent with his co-workers while he was gone), and thanks to market changes he was essentially a new hire making what a 5-year veteran makes.  I split the difference between his old salary and what a new hire makes and told him he was lucky to get that, and he was!  Literally, it would have been just as easy for me to hire someone and start from scratch.

            That's how business is.  Now, if I tried that with a women who was gone for pregnancy and child rearing I'd be in deep deep trouble.

            •  I don't think the analogy works (none)
              .... that guy could be a missionary any time, while women have a wide but fairly firm window for bearing children. Also, when I talk about women taking time off for kids, I'm certainly not thinking "two+ years," and I don't think anyone else is, either; I think that's an extreme example that doesn't really serve the purposes of the conversation. I'm thinking maybe six months. It can be extremely dangerous to put newborns in childcare too soon; my own daughter was hospitalized twice with viruses in her first three months, and I ended up even having to pull her older sister out of childcare for a couple of months to protect the baby.

              I'm not trying to pull the "mom" card on you, but as we all know, pregnancies are often unplanned regardless of precautions, and workplace policies should be designed (within reason, I agree) to keep the mother employed AND protect the health of her baby.

              "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

              by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:27:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  And what is (none)
        wrong with rewarding people who have worked more.  If you have two equally skilled individuals, both women for the argument's sake, and one takes off a year and one doesn't, why should they make the same?

        Assuming that everything else is equal, the one who worked for an additional year deserves more money, deserves to be promoted earlier and to go further.  They put in the time, they deserve the reward.

        You shouldn't PUNISH a woman for having a child and taking time off, but neither should you reward them for it.  And contrary to what some may think, rewarding someone eles's hard work and time is not punishing everyone else who has not put forth the same amount of work and time.

        The only way that you can claim that two women who are otherwise equal should make the same amount, even though one was gone for a year, is if employees are entitled to raises, regardless of how much time or effort they have invested in the company.

        I am male, and I'll admit that I don't understand how people think that they should be treated equally when they haven't done an equal amount of work.

  •  Justice O'Connor (none)
    was NOT, by any measure, a "tireless cruader for women rights in the workplace and schools," Kos.

    She joined the radical Rehnquist majority in opposing many anti-discrimination laws and making it harder for people to bring harrassment suits into federal Court. She was deeply conservative at heart, and had no particular interest in women's rights.

    "It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become victims of the darkness." -William O. Douglas

    by progressive pete on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:28:31 AM PDT

    •  Spin (none)
      Heard of it right?

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:35:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, (none)
        what's your point?

        It's not spin, it's a glaring innaccuracy.

        "It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become victims of the darkness." -William O. Douglas

        by progressive pete on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:43:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  there's a difference? (none)
          It's not spin, it's a glaring innaccuracy.

          "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

          by colleen on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:45:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (none)
          If we wanted a champion of women's rights, we'd choose Justice Brennan, my favorite Supreme Court Justice.  Justice Brennan, along with his ideological soulmate Justice Marshall, was a true heroes of the women's movement.  Of course, Justice Brennan was also a hero of the civil rights movement and every other movement that expanded the circle of human dignity.  When President Clinton nominated her, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hailed as the "Thurgood Marshall of the women's movement," but I don't have enough information to make that judgement.
          •  Yeah (none)
            Brennan, Marshall, and Douglas. Those were the good old days.

            No more real liberals left on the Court now. Ginsburg is as close as it comes, but she doesn't have much force or influence.

            "It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become victims of the darkness." -William O. Douglas

            by progressive pete on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:08:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I never understood (4.00)
    the women make .60 cents for every $1.00 a man makes (or whatever the numbers are) argument.

    I've worked in human resources and payroll depts for different companies for over 20 years.  Every job for every different level has a salary grade, and salary ranges for the grade, and whoever fills the job makes that wage.  (man or woman)  I've never once come across a situation where a salary was lowered because a women got the job, or a woman was hired instead of a man to pay a lower wage for the same job.

    If women make less as an average over their careers because of seniority levels or taking time off for child bearing, then I think that's a different matter.  I've seen many men come in after changing careers or taking time off, and they come in at a lower wage.

    I think the statement that women are paid less for the same job than a man BECAUSE they are women is misleading.  I've never seen a situation in my career that stated "for this job, a man gets gets XXXX.XX and a woman gets YYYY.YY"  Can someone give me examples of a company that has a policy to pay someone with the same experience and qualifications less for the same job because they are a woman?

    Bush: "The buck doesn't even slow down here"

    by cgvjelly on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 09:55:42 AM PDT

    •  This memo was twenty years ago (none)
      Back then, I think very few companies had the transparent hiring practices your current firm does, which document the exact salary given to different positions. I imagine many more firms do now than used to, back when Roberts wrote the memo. So, when he wrote it, he was responding to a situation far worse than what currently exists for women. Things have improved since then, but obviously no thanks to him.

      "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

      by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:15:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But pay is still unequal (none)
        The fact that many more companies have transparent hiring practices should, by your logic, have made gender pay disparities disappear, or at least reduce fairly significantly.  And yet that hasn't happened.  Women still make much less on average.  This is why looking at OVERALL pay disparities is totally unhelpful.  There are simply too many factors that go into those numbers.  Far better is to look at discrepancies between men and women of similar seniority and accomplishment in the same job.  And those discrepancies do exist in places.  Or look at why women don't make it into the executive suite as often.  That's where the sexism is.  
        •  You missed my point (none)
          You and I are arguing the same thing. I was merely asking that the previous poster acknowledge the twenty year difference between the policies her firm offers and those offered -- if any -- back when the memo was written. I didn't say that sexist policies had been eradicated; I said that the case of her firm was not the standard.

          "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

          by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:08:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I get your point (none)
            But I still don't necessarily agree.

            I said that the case of her firm was not the standard

            I write about and do research in the area of human resources.  And while gender disparity is not a particular area of expertise, I think I can say with assurance that the prevalence of different pay grades for the same job was pretty low twenty years ago as well as today.  Perhaps 20 years ago there was less awareness of subtle, unconscious biases that creep into hiring decisions, but even that isn't the issue.  The bigger issue, then as now is that men and women are applying for diffent jobs and male jobs pay more, on average, than female jobs.  Most people on this thread seem to be implicitly supporting the argument that this is due to prejudice and discrimination.  Roberts (and others) argue that other factors are much more important as explanation.

      •  Touches on a point I wanted to make... (none)
        This memo was written over 20 years ago. At that time, there WERE very few females with much seniority. At the time, it was still very much acceptable to look unfavorably upon a woman who wanted to succeed and didn't want to raise children at home, even among the supposedly progressive party. In the days of big companies with successful female CEOs, I think society in general has changed that view.

        We still have a little way to go until we hit that full equality. Things have improved greatly (I believe the last count was 80% of pay), but I do sometimes worry about those numbers. I agree with the parent of this thread. I've never worked at a company that didn't have set pay strata, and where that pay wasn't determined before the candidate walked in the door. I've never seen a company turn away a qualified woman to go with a slightly less qualified man. Who can afford to turn away the best candidate in business?

        Obviously, the biggest inequality is where it 'counts', and that is in the executive suites, and I think this is where the problem lies. It is not that women and men are seen or treated as unequal workers. It's that women and men are treated as unequal LEADERS, and that's something that society still struggles with. And very sadly so.

        Get involved at
        Condemnant qui non intelligent.

        by cognizant on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:16:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And that also illustrates (none)
          that women often put family over job, and men often put job over family.

          Or at least they did, though it's changing somewhat now.

          Most current CEOs have been working 20+ yrs, they're not 20 somethings. Most women CEOs I've heard of rarely have children, those that do had them young and were back in the workforce with a vengence by the time they were in their early thirties.

          You don't get to be CEO by taking time to go to parent teacher conferences, little league games, piano recitals, and being room mother. You get to be CEO by MISSING those things. Or by having your kids young enough to do those while you're in your twenties.

          Now, that's may not be right, but that's how it is. And I'd say the majority of women who have kids when they're older aren't willing to do that, even if they get the chance.

    •  rare but happens (none)
      I can tell you that it does happen, but is very rare.

      I've worked with vendors who have production based pay, and the pay policy was written so that women were actually paid slightly more per unit to off set the lower per hour yield that women workers output on average.  The net effect was that women still ended up making probably 5%-10% less than men of similar skill but unequal physical gifts.  A man in top condition could make about one rate, and a women in top condition - even with better per unit pay - could make probably 95% of that pay.

      In other situations, employers make a risk based decision - how risky is hiring this person?  And if the person was likely to go out on leave for a few months for a child they would receive a lower salary package.  The vendor went through all kinds of outside companies and actuarial tables and whatnot to mask it, but it was essentially gender/age discrimination.  (I posted about it in more depth up thread if you want more details).

  •  Dear John Roberts... (4.00)
    John Roberts scoffed at the notion that men and women should earn equal pay in jobs of comparable importance, and he belittled three female Republican members of Congress who promoted that idea to the Reagan administration.

    Would you put your support behind a bill that pays female members of Congress 60% of what the equivalent male members of Congress make? That might be worth proposing, to draw attention to the issue, and promote equality between Congress and the American people. (Personally, I never understood why the ERA wasn't already law, given what the Constitution already says, along with the 14th Amendment, but go figure.)

    P.S. As a sidenote, when you go beyond salary and include all the  money they get--donations, lobbying cash, slush funds, etc.--do the men get more on average? I'd guess that they do, but of course I don't know for certain.

    •  Your example doesn't work (none)
      Roberts in that quote wasn't talking about equal pay in the same job, he was talking about equal pay in jobs thats are "of comparable importance."  Which is a vague and worthless phrase as one person's judgement of importance is sure to be different from another person's.  

      So, the comparison within Congress is incorrect.  A more accurate comparison would be to ask if he would support a bill that pays female members of Congress 60% of what someone in a field that is of "comparable importance."

  •  Roberts = Manna from Heaven IF we have spine (none)
    to fight him.  Quite frankly, we need a solid discussion in the country about voters rights, women's rights, affirmative action and abortion.

    We are in the majority on many of these issues and dammit, for once, FIGHT FOR THESE ISSUES.  

    These are long-term issues that can cement our loyalty amongst women and minorities.  As long as we continue to play/fight hard and make noise we can accomplish two major objectives:

    1. Show some dearly needed spine so voters know what the hell we stand for;

    2. Paint the ReThugs as way outside of the mainstream.

    While the whole 'documents' request/defense is nice from a procedural standpoint, is simply doesn't resonate with people from outside of this site.

    Please, Democrats, STAND UP FOR SOMETHING!  

  •  Okay, wait a minute. (4.00)
    So you're saying that if you have two individuals who worked for a company from 1995 - 2005, and one individual had, say, taken six months off in 1998 and a full year off in 2003, this person should still have equal pay and equal seniority as the individual who didn't take any time off at all -- ooh, but only if they're a woman?  That strikes me as inexcusably sexist.  I mean, flip it around -- what if a woman had worked the entire 10 year period, and a guy had taken off a year and a half for helping raise a kid or care for a relative or play golf or whatever.  Would you think both should have equal seniority in that case?

    I have problems with Roberts on a lot of issues, and even on this one I'm not certain Roberts' views aren't being driven by an old-fashioned way of thinking that has no place on a 21st century court.  But what some in this thread have been complaining about strikes me as bizarre -- the societal reasons women make less than men are a lot more troubling than the "time-off-for-kids" thing, anyway.  And on that issue, I can't see any ethical or legal reason why, regardless of circumstance, women should be allowed to count time off from work toward their seniority, and men cannot.

    •  Easy (none)
      Have your company give birth leave to men.  Many companies do.  Ensure that the seniority and pay stay the same.

      Everyone will be happier, especially the babies.  

      If the men decide to keep working, they will know that they are doing it for their own reasons, not pay/seniority.

  •  This is BS (4.00)
    This is NOT a refusal on his part to endorse the idea of "equal pay for equal work" (i.e., men and women in the same job being paid the same).  It was a refusal to endorse the concept of "comparable worth" -- i.e., because nurses are mostly female, they are probably paid less than they should be, so let's pay them the same as workers in some totally different, but "comparable" job like, say, long-distance trucking.  The whole concept is stupid and run counters to the market determining what a job should pay.  

    Personally I think it's fruitless to try to oppose Roberts absent some real smoking gun -- I mean, do we really expect Bush not to nominate a conservative? -- but if you're determined to oppose him, at least keep the rhetoric straight.  Just because the other side is into spin, BS and slime doesn't mean we should be too.

  •  He's one hurled vase away from Bolton ... (none)
    ... and an electrified genital alligator clip away from Abu Gonzales, IMO.

    . anti-equal rights for women: check (cf above)
    . pro-corporate-polluter: check
    . pro-school-prayer: check
    . likely anti-privacy: check
    . big thumbs up from impartiality-hatin' Tom DeLouse and the Just Us Sunday crowd: check

    (Above offsite links to articles excerpted in my post in AnnArborBlue's diary about this 08/16/05 WaPo floatation by Dana Milbank.)

  •  Dig a little deeper (4.00)
    Let me first attempt to establish my bona fides.

    • I was raised by a single mother who was a professional mathemetician, a Stanford PhD, and went into computing in the seventies.
    • I am the primary caregiver in my family.
    • My greatest ambition is to retire ASAP and take care of my child(ren) full-time.

    In short, although I am a man, I was raised as and remain a feminist in the sense of believing deeply in gender equality.

    That said, I will now provide many among you with reason to flame me for suggesting that Roberts was right.

    I'd be among the first to attack Roberts if it appeared to me that he was a misogynist, male chauvenist pig. I would be very concerned if it appeared he opposed gender equality, which is a subject near and dear to me, or if it appeared he opposed equal pay for equal work.  

    However, opposing that specific proposal, in the way he did, is far from anti-woman or anti-feminist.  Folks, the proposal was stupid.  Roberts was right to call it stupid.

    Here's the problem:  a study was done that assigned a social or economic value to different occupations.  The the average wages for those different occupations were considered.  Then the proportion of women and men in those different jobs was considered.  Voila:  women made less than men for "equivalent" jobs.  In essence, jobs that were traditionally female, and still had a preponderance of female practitioners, such as, for example, teaching school, paid worse than jobs that were traditionally male.

    First of all, why should this really be surprising?  It's no secret that gender equality is a very new concept in our society.  It's no secret that the only jobs women were allowed to do only sixty years ago were low-status and low-pay jobs that men didn't want.  Society takes a long time to change.  In today's society, women can take any job they want, and we have very clear laws stating they must make the same as a man would in that same job.  (See Equal Pay Act of 1963).  But even today women make less than men, and that is in large part because they work at higher rates in different jobs -- jobs that are traditionally female and still pay less and have less prestige than traditionally male jobs (e.g., still, schoolteachers).

    Let's look at some more information about how this disagreement arose.  From the Boston Globe:  

    In 1983, a federal judge had ruled in favor of a group of women who said they had been paid less than men for work of equal worth. The judge based his ruling on a study that indicated that traditionally female jobs, such as secretaries, and traditionally male jobs, such as truck drivers, each produced the same ''worth" of work product, but the secretaries were paid less
    Three Republican congresswomen at the time -- Olympia Snowe of Maine, Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island, and Nancy Johnson of Connecticut --wrote to the White House, urging the Reagan administration not to suppport the company's appeal of the judge's ruling.

    It's a great sentiment that women should receive equal pay for work of "equal worth." I certainly agree with the sentiment.  What I don't agree with is the concept of implementation.   And I also don't agree with the data that lead to the factoid of 60 cents on the dollar (later improved to 76 cents on the dollar).

    The reason Roberts compared the proposal to communism is that the proposal for remediation was to place government in a role where the market had been.  The wages in different occupations are currently set by the market, supply and demand of and for workers.  Instead of that capitalist system, a government commission or agency would be established that would rate different occupations in some way and then itself decide what a fair wage for those occupations is.  Now, I'm as much of a leftie as the next fellow, and that's precisely why I don't want the government telling me how much my work is worth.  I think the comparison to communism is fair and apt.

    We have good laws in place that work in logical ways to protect against gender discrimination.  This would have been a bad law that would have worked in a bad way.

    The most important thing to note about this phenomenon of unequal work worth is that it is going away.  If you stratify people in age cohorts, the greatest level of earning inequality by gender occurs at the oldest cohort.

    In 1988 the ratio of women's to men's hourly earnings in the United States was around 70 percent. This ratio was close to 90 percent at 20 to 24 years of age and 80 percent at 25 to 34 years, but it was only 63 percent at 45 years of age and older.

    From an article titled Comparable Worth by June Ellenoff O'Neill.

    (Bear with me, there's very little information out there that isn't blatantly partisan).

    The reason the gap is closing principally because people are acting differently.  They are entering different professions, sharing child-care more, etc.  The most important thing to note about the narrowing gap is that it is narrowing - to 90 percent among the youngest cohort - without the imposition of a government wage pricing institution.  That means, to me, that those who opposed such a proposal were right.

    Some might say, well what about the remaining ten percent?  I think most economists could explain that perfectly well in terms not of unfairness or discrimination but in terms of different work performed.  Women still work fewer hours than men, on average.  Women still work fewer years, on average, than men.  And women are still overrepresented in certain low-paying professions.

    In my opinion, the greatest reason that young women still make less than men is child care.  The overwhelming majority of primary care-givers in two-parent households are women.  The overwhelming majority of single parents are women.  Sure, most women with little kids work.  But they work fewer hours on average, and most women still take off more time than men do when their children are born.  This has a big effect.
    I fought to take off a month when my child was born, and I still got pulled back in part-time.  Women take time off at their peril.  If they're the ones who take off several months for newborns, and the ones who stay home every time a kid is sick, pretty soon they get on the "mommy track."

    I'm not talking about this from a theoretical perspective, but a very personal one.  My wife never took time off from work, except in the last semester of her MBA, when she was due, and went back to work right after.  A gap in her resume would have signified something to an employer.  I'm the one who goes home when our son is sick, and the one who drops off at day care every day, and meets the nanny every afternoon.  I can do this because I work on a government contract that doesn't go into heavy and random overtime like most professional jobs.  And having to be able to do this limits my professional choices and career growth - just as it would to any woman who made the same choices I have.

    I would like to quit work and be a full-time dad.  But I am not so foolish as to think that I could do that for a few years, and then jump right back in where I left off.  No, I know would screw up my career - just as it would screw up the career of any women who did the same thing.

    Really, folks, the major explanation for the remaining non-career related difference in pay equity is gender roles in child care.  If we want to address pay equity, that's what we need to address, because it would help women and men as well.

    "From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender" is no way to help anybody, really.  I agree with Roberts.  (flame on!)  But we do need to address pay equity, and we need to do it by addressing the root causes.  The education gap has been closed; today, more women go to college than men.  We need to close the child care gap now.  We need to realize that lack of support for affordable child care is a form of discrimination.  Lack of support for parental time off is a form of discrimination.  The FMLA is just a joke.  We need real policy in this country that will support a person's right (both a man's right and a woman's right) to take care of children and pursue a career, with no penalty.

    •  "A few years????" (none)
      I appreciate very much the thoughtfulness of your comment, and hopefully you will note from my posts above that my opposition to Roberts is grounded not in his reasoning -- I too think their plan would have been unworkable -- but his rhetoric. Frankly, though, I most confused by the men who keep equating maternity leave to "taking a few years off." Who the hell takes a few years off? Most women are talking about a year, TOPS, and usually it's more like six months, or even three. As I mentioned above, my youngest daughter contracted a near-fatal virus from being exposed to daycare germs too soon, but she was in for good at six months, and I was teaching full-time. So please explain this math to me, because it seems really cavalier. Even if a women had more than one child, it would presumably be a few years apart; these comparisons to men who just feel like quitting their jobs for two or three years are totally spurious.

      I'm NOT flaming ... I'm asking, hopefully respectfully.

      "Nature favors the apt, not the strong or the weak." Louis Sullivan

      by Lilibeth on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:34:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe.. (none) least part of what he stated was that, for women whose careers can AFFORD to give time off, the option of continuing to take that time off was attractive. Who doesn't want to be home with their beautiful children instead of drudging away in an office, if the option so presents itself? And because of gender issues with the primary childcare provider, it is most often the woman who takes this time off.

        And as he pointed out, if you're just averaging all pay for all men versus all pay for all women, then women do often choose professions that knowingly pay less than men. For instance, many schools are facing EPIDEMICS when attempting to hire male faces to teach children under the High School level. Also, numerous studies bear out the fact that, when it comes to sacrificing all semblance of a personal life for work success, many women steer away from that.

        You don't see very many female investment bankers, where the hours can be 80-100 hours a week at the beginning, despite the fact that you could easily be making 6 figures in 2 years fresh out of your MBA. You can't change the nature of certain businesses, so you have to rely on changing the nature of a gender, whether it's getting men more interested in socially (as opposed to financially) rewarding jobs, or convincing women to be as cutthroat as men in the jobs that require it.

        Get involved at
        Condemnant qui non intelligent.

        by cognizant on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:37:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A few years or more (none)
        I don't think I'm equating maternity leave to taking a few years off.  I think those are two different things.  Some women take maternity leave.  Other women take a few years off.

        Women who take maternity leave take a short (less than six months) amount of time off from a job, and return to the same job.  Women who take a few years off leave their jobs, and usually don't return to the same jobs.  They frequently have trouble returning to the work force.

        The FMLA gives both fathers and mothers the right to parental leave for up to twelve weeks.  Few fathers take it.  I did, although I didn't get to take much.  In some other countries, parental leave is much longer, and not unpaid like it is here.

        So how many women take the longer amounts of time off from their careers?  The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about a third of women quit the job they have when they have a child.  

        BLS Report

        Those figures may have changed since the data was gathered.  More women are working all the time.  But is the percentage of women who take significant time off work up or down in the last fifteen years?  Some indications are that it might be up.


        "The more education a new mother has, the more likely she is to be working full time, according to a 2003 Census report.  However, over the past decade, there's been a trend in the other direction, particularly among women with a child under 1 year old and who have a bachelor's degree or some graduate training. In 1990, 68 percent of these mothers were in the labor force.  In 2002, it was 63.5 percent"

        And here's a forward-looking report:
        Families and Work

        "more than one in four employed women (28%) who don't yet have children plan to leave the workforce for a period of a few months to a few years when they do have kids."

        So, by reports I've found, the percentage of women who do take significant time off (much more than a FMLA parental leave, i.e. years) is significant.  Sufficiently significant, I believe, to account for a lot of the wage differential.

        Now, parental leave is not the sole source of the wage differential.  Average hours worked are very different for the men and women.


        "Men work an average of 49 hours per week and women work an average of 43.5 hours per week, and that figure includes the one in four women who work part time."
        "Of the 43 percent of employees who have access to flextime, 68 percent of men use it, and 79 percent of women use it."

        The bottom line is that right now things are set up in our society so that most well-paying careers require more than 40 hours a week (more than 50 hours a week!) of work, and require availability that excludes frequent child care responsibilities.  

        In general, you can't have a real big highly remunerative career if you're a primary care-giver for children.  If you want to have such a career, and you also want to have kids, you'd do well to be married to someone who wants to take care of them.  If you're looking forward to spending time with your children, you'd do well to avoid such a career, and vice versa.

        In practice, in such a situation, most of the primary care-givers are women and most of the primary wage-earners are men.  In my case, I'm eager to turn it around.  That's why I sent my wife to B-school.

    •  Excellent (none)
      Thank you for this post.
  •  Kos Mistates The Issue (Badly) (4.00)
    This is the type of argument against Roberts that ends up blowing up in the face of it proponent. Roberts memo was addressing the comparable worth theory, nothing more. Title VII and the Equal Pay Act already provided for equal pay for equal work, or work that was substantially equal. The comparable worth theory would go well beyond this and have bureaucrats or judges decide what the value of a librarian was compared to a plumber (or any other job). Those here who are fans of state planning might like the idea, but it was quite a stretch to say that the laws in effect at the time mandated such an approach. They didn't, and the theory got shot down in the 9th Circuit and S. Ct.

    You aren't going to derail the Roberts nomination by taking things out of context and saying that proves Roberts is against motherhood and apple pie.

  •  I remember this moment in time very well (none)
    In my  northern California  county, the debate over equal pay was very fervent on all sides.

    One glaring example that I remember was that the registered nurses (mostly women) who worked in the county hospital intensive care units were paid the same as the people (all men)  who repaired parking meters.

    If you look at the level of education required, the amount of responsibility for life and property, the level of problem solving and judgment  required to perform the job, then the registered nurses were really getting shafted!  

    I was, and still am, in favor of personnel policies that take into account education, responsibility, and other such factors when determining pay equity.   Granted that market forces have done much to raise the salaries of registered nurses, but they still aren't commensurate with the responsibility and education required to do the job.  

    "Pro-life" really means "pro-criminalization"

    by Radiowalla on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 10:44:52 AM PDT

  •  Not a winning argument (none)
    Regardless of one's opinion on the matter, Taylor's comment above that - "All your opposition does is waste your credibility with those in the middle" is dead on.

    This might be something to push from a "changing people's views angle"(although frankly the discourse will have to be a lot more intelligent and civil than much of it has been here to accomplish anything).  But this is a total loser of an argument for challenging Roberts.

  •  A Giant Leap (none)
    The government enforcing wage parity is a Socialist concept.  For a Republican, such a concept would indeed seem radical given how much they embrace free market economics.  I think it is a huge leap to say he supports gender bias though.  Just because he doesn't support a remedy, doesn't mean he cherishes the problem.

    As far as the comment goes, he worked for the Reagan Administration.  What about any of his comments has been shocking for someone who worked in the Reagan Administration?  He IS a conservative.

    Now to pragmatism... You want to beat Roberts, here are the Senators to start applying the pressure to: Lincoln Chaffee, Susan Collins, Norm Coleman, and Olympia Snow.  If you think that Ohio election was a portent, then apply the pressure to DeWine and Voinovich as well.  You could try Kay Bailey Hutchison as well, but the American Taliban controls the Texas Republican Party and they are a force to contend with.  And if you are feeling really ambitious; Grassley, Hagel, Warner and McCain are generally not beholden to the party establishment.  But you would have to make a really, really good case (by that I mean a good case in the eyes of a sensible Republican).  Now is the time for the new liberal movement, that is the harbinger of the new Democratic Majority, to put its money where its mouth is.  It is time for this new movement to flex its muscle.  And I, for one, would pay good money to see a battle royal between the Christian Coalition and MoveOn.  It is a quiet August in the District, I'd love some good bare-fisted brawlin'.

  •  Gender inequity and Opus Dei (none)
    There is no better barometor of this nominee's deep beliefs than his stance on gender equity.
    If we let this one pass, we will all be sorry for generations.  What is it going to take to wake everyone up to the fact that we are in the grips of a throwback to the Middle Ages. I believe that John Roberts is a member of the ultraconservative sect of the Catholic Church, Opus Dei.  This sect has traditionally treated women in an inferior role. He is going to tow the Opus Dei line in his decisions on the court. He has likely taken vows to support the Catholic Church's most extreme views.  Who will stand up to oppose him without fear of being attacked and slandered for being anti-catholic or anti religious or worse?

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