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Congress / Sex Discrimination / Immunity #47908

ABC Evening News for Tuesday, Mar 29, 1977
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(Studio) Representative Don Edwards asks Justice Department to reconsider decision to intervene on behalf of Congress in lawsuit brought against Representative Otto Passman by woman on sex discrimination charges.
REPORTER: Harry Reasoner

(DC) Background of case brought by Shirley Davis of Monroe, LA. [DAVIS - says there'd been no complaint with regard to her work till she received letter firing her.] [PASSMAN - refuses comment.] Passman attorney Jesse McDonald says Passman fired Davis because she didn't work out, not because of sex. [McDONALD - says Passman wrote letter as he did to help Davis in future attempts for employment.] [DAVIS - disagrees with McDonald's idea of "Southern gentleman" and that Passman did her favor by releasing her.] Case is of interest to Congress because of challenges to congress immunity and congress exemption from civil rights laws. Letter to Attorney General Griffin Bell from Tip O'Neill and John Rhodes, though Rhodes later backed out. Last month Justice Department did intervene, on part of Passman, over objections of Representative Patricia Schroeder. [SCHROEDER - calls position of congress Idrs. disgusting; says they're saying citizens not protected from elected officials.] [DAVIS - says it boils down to question of Congress being exempt from laws it passes to govern constituents.] Ramifications of case noted.
REPORTER: James Walker

Reasoner, Harry;
Walker, James

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