Last night in a joint townhall meeting, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) touted their supposed support for gender equality, especially equal pay. Palin called herself “a product of Title IX” and declared she and McCain would “create more legislation” to ensure equal pay. McCain jumped in and declared himself an equally ardent supporter of women’s rights, pledging his administration would go to court to protect workplace equality:
PALIN: I was a product of Title IX where legislation allowed that equal opportunity. Now if we still have to keep going down that road to create more legislation to get with it in the 21st century to make sure that women have equality, especially in the work place, then we’re there. [...]
MCCAIN: I want to assure you, that we not only have a role model, but we will hire people and we will make sure people come to our administration wherever there is discrimination. We will eliminate it, we will fight it, and if necessary we’ll take ‘em to court. We’ll do those things.
McCain’s determination to take discriminatory employers “to court” sure would come as a surprise to Lilly Ledbetter, the woman who sued Goodyear Tire for discrimination after she was paid less than her male coworkers for nearly twenty years. The Supreme Court dismissed her case because she had not filed it within 180 days of her very first discriminatory paycheck — despite the fact she had no idea she was being paid less.
Adding to McCain’s long history of opposing equal pay, he skipped the vote that would have allowed Ledbetter to sue, explaining he opposed the bill because it “opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems.”
To recap: McCain opposed a bill that would have made it easier for women to sue over pay discrimination. Perhaps what he meant was that he’ll “take ‘em to court” only “in concept.”