August 16, 2005

Equal pay for women is such a radical concept.

If you're Dubya's nominee for the current vacancy on the US Supreme Court, that is.

Newly released documents make John Roberts look increasingly like a right-wing ideologue instead of a 'moderate' conservative. In a memo to White House counsel Fred Fielding (then his boss), Roberts expressed some pretty neanderthal notions about whether women should receive equal pay for equal work.

In a Feb. 20, 1984, memo, Roberts took sharp issue with a request by three female Republican lawmakers — then-Rep. Olympia Snowe of Maine, then-Rep. Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island, and Rep. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut. They had urged the administration to accept a federal district court decision requiring such pay in the state of Washington and wrote a letter to the White House saying "support for pay equity ... is not a partisan issue."

Roberts pulled no punches in his response. "I honestly find it troubling that three Republican representatives are so quick to embrace such a radical redistributive concept" as equal pay for comparable worth. The pay gap can be explained by seniority of male workers and the fact that women leave the work force for extended periods, he said.

In a separate memo to Fielding on Feb. 3, 1984, Roberts wrote, "It is difficult to exaggerate the perniciousness of the 'comparable worth' theory. It mandates nothing less than central planning of the economy by judges."

Olympia Snowe, incidentally, is now one of the US senators from Maine. She hasn't said how she'll vote on Roberts' confirmation.

Via SF Chronicle.

Posted by Magpie at August 16, 2005 12:32 PM | US Politics | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |