April 14, 2014
Some Republicans tried to justify their vote against equal pay for women by saying that to pass the law would be to “line the pockets of trial lawyers.” That’s a very revealing explanation.
If corporations did not discriminate against women, then there would be no lawsuits … period. A case without any evidence would get thrown out in an instant. Discrimination exists when the perpetrators can get away with it. Without the ability of an individual to file a lawsuit, no corporation would have an incentive to follow the law. Republicans want you to believe that corporations will voluntarily not discriminate anymore, and refuse to allow the ability of anyone to discover if any discrimination exists.
The use of “trial lawyers” is a popular rhetorical tool of Republicans, but the equal pay law and the GM recalls of their cars with fatal defects are good examples of what we do as trial lawyers. GM knew about the defects years ago — before many people were killed because of them. GM did nothing to protect lives. They protected themselves, or rather their profits. The government agency charged with identifying those safety hazards didn’t discover the defects because (apparently) the deaths of dozens of people was below their radar. So much for over-regulation.
It was a trial lawyer taking depositions in a lawsuit that not only uncovered the defect in GM cars, but also the cover-up of the defect. Thanks to a trial lawyer, lives will be saved and justice can be done for the victims. It is a textbook example of how trial lawyers protect society and your rights. This offends Republicans.
Republicans want to argue that there are already laws against discrimination, but they want to make it impossible to discover the discrimination, nearly impossible to get a day in court and impose government limits on the amount of money anyone could recover no matter what the evidence is. As a person who has devoted his life to helping defend the rights of individuals against the wealthy and powerful, I understand why the right wing nuts attack my profession. We are the last resort of people like you when the powerful victimize.
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Posted by Geoffrey Fieger
April 14, 2014
You couldn’t ask for a clearer contrast between the “family values” of Republicans and those of the Democrats. The vote on equal pay for women was blocked by Republicans — every single Republican voted against it. Terri Lynn Land, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate to replace Carl Levin, chimed in with agreement with her fellow Republicans that women aren’t really interested in getting paid the same for the same work. You would think that a woman might have a hard time justifying a policy to allow discrimination against women, but apparently not a Republican woman.
As a father of two boys and a girl, I can’t imagine advocating a policy that punishes my daughter just because she is a girl. I wonder how ANY woman could remain a Republican after such a disgraceful vote. However, I can’t honestly discern if Republicans are conducting an ideological war against women, or if the issue is simply one where all Republican policies are subservient to protecting corporate America.
Sure, Republicans have been the party to deny the right of women to choose what happens to their own bodies. The party of “small government” has proposed all kinds of government intrusions into the personal lives and bodies of women — even to the point of mandating government vaginal exams of pregnant women, and prohibiting reimbursement for contraceptives. The refusal to support equal pay for women might seem to be another extension of their “war on women.” But when you look at the big picture, the issue is less about discriminating against women as it is about protecting corporations. More than anything else, Republicans are all about protecting the profits of corporations and billionaires. Five Supreme Court Justices are possibly the only five people in the world who don’t understand the role of money in politics and power. The Ryan Budget just passed by the House of Representatives is essentially the declaration of GOP policy: take from the poor and give to the rich.
The defeat of the equal pay law should be a warning to every American, female or male, that the agenda of the Republican Party is to turn the U.S. into a Third World economy where impoverished workers serve the goal of corporate profits. Resisting raising the minimum wage, equal pay, blocking unemployment benefits, Tort Reform … asking how any given law will affect corporate profits can explain 99 percent of all Republican policy. The Ryan Budget declares it loud and clear. In that sense, I suppose, the Republicans can legitimately argue that they are not prejudiced in favor of either gender: both should face equal injustice.
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Posted by Geoffrey Fieger