In 2007, after the Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving pay discrimination, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a scathing dissent in which she urged Congress to take action where the Court had failed. When President Obama was elected the following year, he took her advice; the first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. As the New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin points out, “A framed copy of the bill, inscribed by Obama, has an honored place in Ginsburg’s Supreme Court chambers.”
Over the past week, we’ve seen the Supreme Court fail once again on the issue of women’s rights. Last Monday, five justices — all male — said that Hobby Lobby’s Christian owners had the right to provide less-than-comprehensive insurance coverage to employees because of their faulty belief that certain contraceptives cause abortion. Later in the week, the justices added that it was too burdensome for a non-profit Christian college to simply fill out paperwork saying they didn’t want to directly provide emergency contraception to faculty members and students.