By Robert Price

October 24th 2012  9:15am

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) continues to use manipulation to support right- wing social ideology.  This week, Rubio made public statements in opposition of the Lilly Ledbetter Act, a piece of legislation designed to enable a women’s right to seek civil redress against workplace discrimination.  So far, Mitt Romney has struggled to clarify his view of the Ledbetter Act, saying that he does not have a position on whether he would have signed the act into law.  Rather than decline a similar position on the subject or engage in hearty debate of the issue, Rubio instead uses a diversionary attack.  Rubio likely knows that open support of subjugation of women would not result in the receipt of political brownie points; so instead, he uses the opportunity to transform an important discussion into yet another attack on trial lawyers.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama, amends a prior law that implements strict statute of limitations requirements for filing equal-pay lawsuits.  Under the Act, every time a woman receives a paycheck that is discriminatory because an equal male counterpart is receiving more pay, each one of those paychecks is considered an offending act for statute of limitations purposes.  One underlying reason for implementing the Ledbetter Act is the notion that female discrimination is not a static concept, but rather, a series of offensive acts that take place over a prolonged period of time.  Rather than attempt to objectively pinpoint a time when a woman was officially “discriminated” during the course of her employment, the Act recognizes the continuing nature of female discrimination and enables woman to seek civil redress for these inequalities as long as the woman continues to receive paychecks that are not equal to her male counterpart’s.  The Act is named after Lilly Ledbetter, a woman who worked for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for nearly 20 years and received significantly less pay than her male counterparts over the entire span of her career.  She was denied suit due to statute of limitations under the argument that she did not bring her action within 180 days of certain pay-affecting “decisions,” even though her suit had been brought within 180 days from the time she had received a discriminatory paycheck.  The Ledbetter Act was designed to reverse the harsh ramifications of this holding and enable women to bring suit within 180 days from receiving discriminatory pay.

Instead of focusing on the Act’s underlying purpose and its effects on women’s rights, Rubio would much rather make the issue about an easier target than victimized women.  That way, Rubio can play the game of attacking faceless, nameless trial lawyers and he can attempt to perpetuate the sound bite-driven political notions that lawyers are evil.  YEE HAW!  Time to get out the Pabst Blue Ribbon and bug zappers ‘cuz this is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel! Yes, let’s talk about lying and stealing lawyers by examining the worst of the worst: Rubio himself.  Rubio, a lawyer by trade and manipulator at heart, has nothing less than a rampant reputation for stealing funds and perpetuating lies.  Throughout his political career, Rubio charged more than $100,000.00 in vague expenditures to his state party American Express card, including embellishments such as a $133.75 charge for an upscale Miami barbershop, $68.00 at a wine store, and over $1,000.00 at the Apple Store and an electronics retailer for “supplies.”

Further, he was caught red-handed double-billing the state for using state money to pay for airline tickets for business and personal reasons.  Later, he was called out on the lies surrounding his signature heartstring story of his parent’s exile from Cuba after Castro’s rise to power, a story he would frequently cite to as an emotional springboard to support his Tea Party catch-phrases.  Turns out, Rubio’s parents came to America in 1956, before Castro’s rise to power and were naturalized in 1975.  All a big lie concocted by Rubio in an attempt to emotionally manipulate Florida voters.

This time, yet again, Rubio is using manipulation to skirt the real issue: equal pay for women.  Rubio would like to see the civil remedies available to women shut down so that women cannot seek redress.  Nothing can stop Rubio; well, nothing except cold-hard-facts and adherence to logic.

Robert Price is an associate with the firm of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A.  Robert focuses his practice on mass torts and product liability.  He is part of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the Federal Multidistrict Transvaginal Mesh Litigation and is actively involved in leadership in state court mesh litigation in addition to working in other cases involving bad drugs and defective medical devices.