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 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, potentially limiting the circumstances in which employers can be held liable for decisions when there is no evidence of intentional discrimination against 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 and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.(see the words in italics..subtle message, isn't it? Sotomayor? Fairness need not apply)
Am adding THIS LINK from Mustang. Imagine 5-4? FOUR justices on the SCOTUS think it's more important to let people who didn't do well on testing (results of which could have a bearing on the health of their community) get better positions than those who worked so hard and are better fitted for the job?