The case of Ricci v. DeStefano involved 17 firefighters who had taken the qualifications exam to become firefighters. All passed, all were white, but one Latino, and the city invalidated the test because they feared a racial discrimination lawsuit. The court found that this was essentially “reverse” racism and violated Title XII.
The ruling yesterday to overturn Ricci v. DeStefano was another bad decision in a series of bad decisions by the SCOTUS that will have implications for communities of color, women and poor people. Legal Momentum tells us why,
The Court created a new, more stringent standard for employment discrimination claims in striking down the New Haven Fire Department’s attempt to ensure that its promotional exam did not discriminate against Black and Latino candidates. We believe that the standard articulated by the Court reflects a flawed interpretation of Title VII and is contrary to congressional intent.
Irasema Garza, President of Legal Momentum, stated: “Employment discrimination continues to be a major problem. To this day, women and minorities remain egregiously under-represented in many employment sectors. Astoundingly, the Court’s decision acknowledges this fact and yet requires employers to avoid policies and practices that would help to remedy this discrimination. This decision will make it far more difficult for women and minorities to get good jobs in fields that continue to exclude them, such as firefighting, and for employers to eliminate barriers that have proved discriminatory in their effect.”
Further, as a supporter of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Legal Momentum strongly disagrees with those who might use the Court’s decision to imply that Judge Sotomayor and her colleagues in the Second Circuit erred in their ruling below. The Second Circuit panel of which Judge Sotomayor was a part acted with appropriate restraint in applying the precedent as it existed at that time. The matter before the Supreme Court involved issues of first impression and the Second Circuit’s opinion was consistent with the views of four Justices on the Supreme Court as well as with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice.
Also, what about the possibility that Alito was also racially biased in making this decision? As Adam aptly asks at Tapped, why is racial discrimination only considered an offense when it is women or people of color being biased against whites?