"A 'No' From NOW" {editorial, Nov. 22} contained oversights and a shockingly narrow view of remedies to discrimination. In supporting a 1985 ruling by Supreme Court nominee Anthony Kennedy in a major pay-equity case, AFSCME v. State of Washington, The Post claimed the nominee wrote that Washington State should not be asked to correct wage inequities that it did not create. In fact, the truth lies elsewhere.

Washington not only created a discriminatory wage system that penalized its female employees, it also ignored a massive body of evidence proving that discrimination. The state contracted for four separate job evaluation studies by outside experts; all showed that pay for jobs held predominantly by male workers was significantly more than pay for jobs held predominantly by female workers and requiring equal skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. The evidence went even further: the state had placed job advertisements under "Help wanted -- male" and "Help wanted -- female" columns as recently as 1973, there were equal-pay violations, and state officials admitted to wage discrimination.

In ruling against the state, a trial court found the evidence of a pattern of wage discrimination against female workers compelling. Judge Kennedy overturned that ruling, revealing a willingness to champion a political position that facts did not support. Judge Kennedy found no pay discrimination by a state whose officials had repeatedly acknowledged that its system was discriminatory. Perhaps even worse, he accepted that the market may dictate economic inequality for women and men and then held that states are free to adopt those inequities.

In that ruling, Judge Kennedy showed himself to be unresponsive to the type of indirect evidence of discrimination that the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized and accepted. Indeed, the strength of the union's case in petitioning for a rehearing of his decision may well have been a factor for the state when it chose to settle the case out of court for more than $100 million.

The Post is right that "the bargaining table, not the courtroom, is the place where wage questions of this kind should be settled." Advocates of pay equity have long seen collective bargaining as the best means to correct the unfair wages that penalize and impoverish women. In Washington, the union spent nearly a decade trying to resolve its claim before going to court.

While litigation is a last resort, it is a necessary one, and our laws and the people who interpret them must stand firmly against discrimination. As the Census Bureau's 1986 wage-gap figure confirms, sex-based wage discrimination still plagues American women -- who now earn 64 cents for every dollar earned by males. Judge Kennedy's ruling is a cause for concern among fair-minded people. It should be of concern to The Post as well. CLAUDIA WAYNE Executive Director, National Committee on Pay Equity Washington