Monday, June 29, 2009


The United States Supreme Court decided against the City of New Haven today in Ricci v. DeStefano. In a 5-4 decision, the five conservatives arrayed against the four liberals, the Court held that City violated Title VII when the City scrapped a promotion test after the results revealed that firefighters of color did much worse on the test than the white firefighters.I previously blogged about Ricci here.   Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority and given that this outcome was expected, Kennedy's decision was not as bad as it could have been. For example, the majority avoided the constitutional question, though Scalia warned that that day of reckoning will come. But the most interesting opinion was in fact that of Justice Ginsburg in dissent. 

Ginsburg asks the relevant question in Ricci: why were the test scores of the firefighters of color so much lower than that of white firefighters. This is the question that should be our obsession. If the modern-day version of what passes for civil rights organizations were worth their salt, they would provide us with concrete answers to those questions as well as solutions.

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