A formality is taking place in the U.S. Senate. It’s the debate over the nomination of John G. Roberts, Jr., to be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. There is no mystery to that debate. It’s a foregone conclusion by most people that the vote for Roberts will be overwhelming. Roberts will have the vote of all 50 male Republican Senators. Will he get the five republican senators who are women? Hopefully, not more than 12 Democrats will vote for Roberts.
He will not get the vote of any of the nine democratic women in the senate. It will be interesting to discover how the five republican women in the senate will vote. They have the same history as do the democratic senators. The United States as a so called democracy has a long history of denying democratic rights to its citizens. This denial of democratic rights to women dates back to the inception of the country and continues through this very hour.
Perhaps their struggle for equality in America is to well remembered. History for women is still current. They remember a time not so long ago that when they married they had to surrender the right to their own property to their husbands. A time in court, when they were not entitled to legal representation. Could not go to law school or become a doctor. Professionally they were limited to being teachers or nurses.
Even after the passage of the 19th. Amendment in 1920 giving them the right to to vote. Women were still second class citizens. They did not have any of the rights and privileges that men enjoyed. Like equality in athletics or control over their reproductive lives. This struggle for equality did not end with the right to vote. It was just getting started! In many respects the battle is still on going. Then comes a guy named Roberts who is threat to rollback all the advances women have gained over the decades. Roberts was a guy who was not comfortable having girls in his class when he was a boy. Married to a women, who is active in the movement to eliminate a women’s right to control of her reproductive life.
One would suspect that the democratic women in the senate feel that their male colleagues have abandoned their struggle to maintain their hard fought gains. The democratic women of the senate are concerned about the June 10, 1963, Equal Pay Act. That act made it illegal for employers to pay women less then they paid men in the performance of the same job category. The democratic women of the Senate are concerned about Title V11 of the 1964, Civil Rights Act, which made it illegal to discriminate in employment on the grounds gender or ethnicity. Both the 1963 and 1964 laws have been a real thorn in the side of corporate America. As late as 1970, the Court struck down a corporate maneuver for paying women less for doing the same job by changing the job title. That is how corporate America responded to the 1963 Equal Pay Act. It took an additional seven years for women to secure equal pay for the performance of the same job. The sad thing is these same suits are still in our courts. One suspects the five republican women in the senate do not share the same concerns about these issues as do their democratic women colleagues. With corporate America arguing that such legal claims inhibit their ability to be competitive. They complain that huge jury awards takes money away from their ability to invest in equipment and product upgrades. They also argue that the federal government and the federal courts should turn over their jurisdiction to the state legislatures. That of course is the position Judge Roberts holds. Is it any wonder why corporate America invested so much money in his successful nomination and confirmation.
Corporate America will always be a threat to democratic rights. That has been their history. It’s the main reason they support Roberts.
In March of 1972, the congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and sent it to the states for ratification. This important legislation was first drafted in 1923 by a women named Alice Paul.The Amendment read, “Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” The amendment failed in 1982, because it failed to get the minimum of necessary states for ratification. For this writer that was a huge defeat which looms even bigger today. With the ERA amendment as a part of the constitution. It would be much more difficult, if not impossible, for the Roberts court to roll back the progress women had made.
This writer remembers a time when a married women were denied credit unless their husbands co-signed for them. That practice continued to prevail until 1973. When the Equal Credit Opportunity Act became law.
Will the five Republican senators remember this history and vote against Roberts? It’s mainly the history of state rights advocates and corporate America. Their vote will tell us a lot about the Republican women in the senate.
This writer is available to speak on the U.S. failures of its women citizens. Short speech and then workshops would work well on how to protect not only the rights of women, but the rights of all Americans.