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A Well-Meaning but Inappropriate Senate Resolution

The recent US Senate resolution on the US Women’s Soccer team alleged equal pay issue was inappropriate for several reasons:

It makes findings of fact without any basis – no witnesses, no evidence taken by Congress or even a report by a congressional committee.  From the actual resolution:

Whereas the members of the United States Women’s National Team, despite the international success of the members, are consistently paid less than similarly situated members of the United States Men’s National Team for doing the same job, regardless of the performance of the teams;


Whereas the pay disparities suffered by the members of the United States Women’s National Team are reflective of the reality of many women in the United States who, more than 50 years after the enactment of the Equal Pay Act, still make on average only 79 cents for each dollar made by a male counterpart;

Whereas those pay disparities exist in both the private and the public sectors and, in many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination;

Whereas unequal pay on the basis of gender tells women and girls that, whether on the soccer field or in the office, the hard work of the women or girls is not valued equally to that of male counterparts;

And there’s more but I’ll speak to this further down; but these are findings of facts that there is no basis for.

The resolution also repeats liberal propaganda about equal pay when it repeats the discredited at several places “79 cents” (it is actually closer to 96 cents) pay disparity and also makes a finding that “many pay disparities” are the result of intentional discrimination or past discrimination.  But it also does more:  This resolution also calls for actual policy changes!

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) urges the United States Soccer Federation to immediately end gender pay inequity and to treat all athletes with the respect and dignity those athletes deserve;

(2) supports an end to pay discrimination based on gender and the strengthening of equal pay protections; and

(3) instructs the Secretary of the Senate to submit a copy of this resolution to the United States Soccer Federation.

It is dangerously close to a unconstitutional bill of attainder – where Congress makes a judgment and then punishes the offender.

Finally, this US Soccer Team issue is presently being litigated before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – and maybe the Federal courts.  It is grossly inappropriate for the Congress to get involved in pending litigation.  It is also not clear that the women’s team has been unfairly treated:

The core fact is not in dispute: The players on the World Cup-winning United States women’s national soccer team earn less money than their counterparts on the men’s national team. After that truth, things are muddier. How much less? How can that be fair? And most important: What is being done about it?

U.S. Soccer and the union representing the players on the women’s team have traded court filings and accusations — in a lawsuit filed by U.S. Soccer over the validity of the team’s collective bargaining agreement and in a wage-discrimination complaint filed by five top players last month. Amid all of this, we gave both sides the opportunity to make their case using U.S. Soccer’s public (and private) financial data. What we found suggests a complicated battlefield. 

If the New York Times says it is not clear then both sides do have an argument.  Let’s see what the courts say.  The US Senate should have stayed out of it and not allowed emotion to place that august institution on one side in the alleged equal pay issue.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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