How Congress Has Advanced Civil Liberties

By Kevin R. Kosar and Adam Chan

Which branch of government comes to mind when you think of your rights? Many, if not most, Americans will think first of the judiciary. They might reference the Obergefell case, or Brown v. Board of Education. Some of us associate rights with the presidency and point to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation or President Obama’s executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or identification. Few Americans, however, consider the legislative branch as a font of rights and a defender of liberties.

Which, as Louis Fisher’s new book shows, is both a shame and historically inaccurate. Consider, for example, the plight of Lilly Ledbetter. She was a supervisor at a rubber plant for twenty years. After she retired, she filed a lawsuit against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for discrimination, because she had been paid $500 to $1,500 per month less than what her male counterpart supervisors earned at the end of her tenure....(Read more)