TrenchNews, Verse 9

TOP STORY

Supreme Court Decides to Favor Discrimination Against Women Workers

The Bush SCOTUS seems to get less friendly to non-corporate non-oligarchs every day. After last week’s insulting of both women in general and a doctor’s ability to make medical decisions not in line with the beliefs of James Dobson, they’ve gone after women again, this time women who work.

A Supreme Court once again split by the thinnest of margins ruled yesterday that workers may not sue their employers over unequal pay caused by discrimination alleged to have occurred years earlier.

The court ruled 5 to 4 that Lilly Ledbetter, the lone female supervisor at a tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., did not file her lawsuit against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in the timely manner specified by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This court is so anti-female that it’s impossible to figure out whether they would have reached a different decision had it been a man who overshot the deadline, but it has been so pro-corporate and anti-worker that it’s reasonable to assume they would have made the same decision on that basis.

IAC, the ruling, though it sticks strictly to the specific limitations in the law, is so divorced from actual realities of the workplace that it amounts to a travesty. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read an angry dissent from the bench.

The decision moved Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to read a dissent from the bench, a usually rare practice that she has now employed twice in the past six weeks to criticize the majority for opinions that she said undermine women’s rights.

Speaking for the three other dissenting justices, Ginsburg’s voice was as precise and emotionless as if she were reading a banking decision, but the words were stinging.

“In our view, the court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination,” she said.

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OTHER STORIES

Modern Employment

Associated Press: “Bribery Claimed in NY Slave Labor Case

The mother of a woman accused of keeping two Indonesian women as slaves tried to bribe a victim’s relative to make the case go away, prosecutors said.

The accused woman, Varsha Mahender Sabhnani, and her husband, Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnani, were being held in jail on Friday, a day after the new charges arose at their arraignment.

The millionaire couple — who operate a worldwide perfume business out of their Long Island home — pleaded not guilty to federal slavery charges.

They were arrested last week after one of the servants, wearing only pants and a towel, was found wandering outside a doughnut shop in Syosset, on the region’s so-called Gold Coast. Authorities concluded she escaped the Sabhnanis’ nearby Muttontown home when she took out the trash.

Unable to speak English fluently, she showed her wounds and Indonesian passport to a shop worker and said, “Mister, mister, I want to go home — Indonesia,” said Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo.

Prosecutors said Thursday that Varsha Sabhnani’s mother, who lives in Indonesia, tried to make the case go away by bribing a son-in-law of one of the servants with the equivalent of $2,500. They also said Varsha Sabhnani had earlier told the other victim that her husband, who still lives in Indonesia, would be arrested unless she followed orders.

“The defendants operated a torture house,” federal prosecutor Mark Lesko said. “They are capable of acts of violence.”

This horror was going to be our Top Story until I saw that Barbara Ehrenreich had already seized on it to point out that it isn’t as unusual as you might think.

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