Robert Pear Revs Up the Wayback Machine

Pear calls Lilly Ledbetter the Democratic "answer" to Joe the Plumber - but she preceded him in the campaign spotlight by several months.

On Monday reporter Robert Pear picked up the story of Lilly Ledbetter, who in 2007 lost an influential Supreme Court sex-based pay discrimination case. Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are itching to rectify that injustice, and Pear cheered them on with a twisted campaign timeline worthy of "Doctor Who."

President-elect Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are planning swift action to overturn a Supreme Court decision that made it much harder for people to challenge discrimination in employment, education, housing and other fields.

The decision, involving a woman named Lilly M. Ledbetter, who had accused her employer of sex-based pay discrimination, was issued in May 2007. Since then, courts around the country have gone far beyond the facts of that case and cited it as a reason for rejecting lawsuits claiming discrimination based on race, sex, age and disability.

In some cases, after initially ruling for employees, judges have reversed themselves and ruled in favor of employers. The judges said they had to switch because of the Supreme Court decision.

Ms. Ledbetter, who worked at a Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., for 19 years, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in August, campaigned for Mr. Obama and made a television commercial for him. She became a hero to many Democrats, their answer to "Joe the Plumber."

That's notterribly likely, given that Toledo resident Joe Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber," did not talk to Barack Obama until October 15, while Ledbetter's commercial came out nearly a full month before, on September 19, andher speech to the Democratic Convention was, naturally, in August.

Another key difference: The Times didn't dig up trash on Ledbetter as if shewere a public figurethe way itdid on Joe Wurzelbacher after he had the audacity to challenge Obama while the candidate was campaigning in his Toledo neighborhood.