Supreme Court Overturns Sotomayor Ruling


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Think this could help in the Senate not confirming her?

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Court Rules for White Firefighters in Discrimination Case

Monday, June 29, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a group of white firefighters in Connecticut were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision endorsed by high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The 5-4 ruling poses a potential complication to Sotomayor's nomination, with confirmation hearings set to start in July.

In the high-profile, controversial case, white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., argued they were discriminated against when the city tossed out the results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough on it.

Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the opinion in favor of Frank Ricci and his fellow firefighters who sued the city of New Haven.

"The city's action in discarding the tests violated (federal law)," the Supreme Court majority wrote Monday, adding that the city's "race-based rejection of the test results" could not be justified.

The city argued its action was prompted by concern that disgruntled African American firefighters would sue. But that reasoning didn't hold sway with the court's majority.

"Fear of litigation alone cannot justify the city's reliance of race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," the court ruled.

This decision, like many of the close cases before the high court, divided along its familiar ideological lines. Kennedy was joined by the four conservatives on the court in issuing the majority decision.

The court's more liberal members joined Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent which she read from the bench. "The white firefighters who scored high on New Haven's promotional exams understandably attract the court's sympathy," she said. "But they had no vested right to promotion."

The firefighters are expected to hold a press conference Monday afternoon in New Haven.

Twenty firefighters — 19 white and one Hispanic — who were denied promotions in New Haven, Conn., claimed city officials discriminated against them because they were more concerned about potential complaints of Civil Rights Act violations than their performance on advancement exams.

The white firefighters argued discrimination is discrimination no matter what color it takes, and therefore, the city did violate the Civil Rights Act in not promoting the white and one Hispanic firefighters.

Sotomayor was one of three appeals court judges who earlier ruled that New Haven officials acted properly.

The reversal could be used as ammunition by some senators who don't want to see Sotomayor confirmed.

Sotomayor's views on race have been the focal point of criticism as she seeks a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. She has also been scrutinized for her statement outside the court that a "wise, Latina woman" would come to better conclusions more often than a white man.

Sotomayor's confirmation hearing is currently scheduled to begin on July 13. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told "FOX News Sunday" that her nomination must have a full airing before a vote, and that could mean delaying the hearing scheduled by Democratic senators, a scenario that is unlikely to happen.

"Just a day or so ago, we discovered that there are 300 boxes of additional material that has just been discovered from her time working with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund," McConnell said. "The committee needs to have access to that material and time to work through it ... so we know all the facts before we vote on a person who's up for a lifetime job."

If confirmed, Sotomayor will replace Justice David Souter, whose retirement coincides with the end of the court's session on Monday. In April's oral argument of the firefighter case, Souter described it as a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Souter joined the minority in Monday's decision.

Souter said he'd retire when the court rises for the summer recess. He was named to the court in 1990.

As Souter retires to New Hampshire, four justices are heading to Europe for summer teaching jobs, including in Austria, Ireland and Italy.

FOX News' Lee Ross and Caroline Shively and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Red Hat

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A 5-4 ruling means that the Libs on the SC agreed with her. This was a great decision but the underlining message that people need to see is that liberals on the SC will, given the chance, trash out Constitution. Al the more reason to stop her from being confirmed!


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It was no secret that Michigan's Senators support the nominee. It did not take too long this morning for me to send a note to our senators to reconsider support to this nominee and requesting that they recant that support.
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that now makes like 75% of all her cases heard before the court she has been nominated to have been overturned by them...

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