USA Today - June 28, 2009
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of white Connecticut firefighters in a 5-4 ruling that reverses an appeals court finding by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, the Associated Press report.
The high court found that the firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.
Update at 10:38 a.m. ET: The court ruled that 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 AP says. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities. “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. (article here)