Monday, June 29, 2009

Court rules for white firefighters over promotions

From The Washington Post:

Court rules for white firefighters over promotions
The Associated Press
Monday, June 29, 2009; 11:19 AM

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide and make it harder to prove discrimination when there is no evidence it was intentional.

"Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his opinion for the court. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the white firefighters "understandably attract this court's sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them."

Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens signed onto Ginsburg's dissent, which she read aloud in court Monday.

Rest of article at link above.

Of course, we know which way Unca Clarence voted.

1 comment:

The Angry Independent said...

I actually have to side with the White firefighters on this one. They have the stronger argument, are more logical and they are standing on more solid legal ground.

There were similar issues here in St. Louis...(and I found myself siding with the White Union). These controversies are apparently hot topics all across the Country.

Now.... how it might impact other cases is where I might have a problem. I hope this doesn't wipe out legitimate cases of discrimination and unfairness...and racial rigging that goes on elsewhere.

I like to look at these situations on a case by case basis. These cases are not all the same.

However, to be on the same side as Clarence Thomas is a little troubling. :)