Features, Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, National

Trump Judge Nominee Said There’s No Such Thing as ‘Glass Ceilings’

November 26, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—Donald Trump’s nominee to be a federal appeals-court judge covering Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi has come under fire for statements mocking the idea that women face discrimination in the workplace. Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, seeking confirmation to serve on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, made the statements in 1998, when then-Gov. George W. Bush was preparing a proclamation praising the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women, Willett, his research director, urged Bush to delete language about equal pay and sexual harassment. “I resist the proclamation’s talk of ‘glass ceilings,’ pay equity (an allegation that some studies debunk), the need to place kids in the care of rented strangers, sexual discrimination/harassment, and the need generally for better ‘working conditions’ for women,” he wrote in a memo. In a 2015 Texas Supreme Court opinion, Willett indicated that he thought the Supreme Court’s 1905 Lochner v. New York decision, which, until it was reversed in the 1930s, barred wage-and-hour regulations on the grounds that they violated freedom of contract, had a place in establishing judicial protection of “economic liberty.” The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Nov. 15 hearing focused mainly on his attitudes against gays, lesbians, and transgender people. Read more

November 26, 2017

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