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Supreme Court Reverses Sotomayor

From an outraged Associated Press:

In this April 10, 2009 file photo, New Haven Firefighter Gary Tinney, one of a group of African-American firefighters in New Haven who are at the center of a controversy over promotions, stands in front of the firehouse where he works in New Haven, Conn.

Court rules for white firefighters over promotions

By Mark Sherman, Associated Press Writer

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 Sonia Sotomayor 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 and make it harder to prove discrimination when there is no evidence it was intentional.

"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, which she read aloud in court Monday.

Kennedy’s opinion made only passing reference to the work of Sotomayor and the other two judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who upheld a lower court ruling in favor of New Haven.

But the appellate judges have been criticized for producing a cursory opinion that failed to deal with "indisputably complex and far from well-settled" questions, in the words of another appeals court judge, Sotomayor mentor Jose Cabranes.

"This perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal," Cabranes said, in a dissent from the full 2nd Circuit’s decision not to hear the case.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Sotomayor should not be criticized for the unsigned appeals court decision, which he asserted she did not write. "Judge Sotomayor and the lower court panel did what judges are supposed to do, they followed precedent," said the Vermont Democrat who will preside over Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings next month.

Leahy also called the high court decision "cramped" and wrong

Monday’s decision has its origins in New Haven’s need to fill vacancies for lieutenants and captains in its fire department. It hired an outside firm to design a test, which was given to 77 candidates for lieutenant and 41 candidates for captain.

Fifty six firefighters passed the exams, including 41 whites, 22 blacks and 18 Hispanics. But of those, only 17 whites and two Hispanics could expect promotion.

The city eventually decided not to use the exam to determine promotions. It said it acted because it might have been vulnerable to claims that the exam had a "disparate impact" on minorities in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The white firefighters said the decision violated the same law’s prohibition on intentional discrimination

More proof of Ms. Sotomayor’s… er, judicial qualifications.

(Of course this is exactly why the left will be so determined to get her on the court.)

Remember that according to the third, dissenting judge, Jose Cabranes, on the 3 judge panel of the Second Circuit Court Of Appeals, the single-paragraph order issued by Sotomayor and her colleagues ignored over 1,800 pages of testimony and more than an hour of argument–ignoring the facts of the case:

“(T)he parties submitted briefs of 86 pages each and a six-volume joint appendix of over 1,800 pages; plaintiffs’ reply brief was over thirty pages long," Cabranes wrote.

"(O)ral argument, on December 10, 2007, lasted over an hour,” Cabranes explained, adding that more than two months after oral arguments, Sotomayor and the majority panel upheld the lower court in a summary order “containing a single substantive paragraph.” …

By the way, lest we forget, Ms. Sotomayor has often admitted that her own test scores for college (including her SAT and LSAT) were not as good as those of her fellow classmates at Princeton and Yale:

But Ms. Sotomayor insists that was because the tests are ‘culturally biased,’ and indeed everybody knows that.

Never mind that Ms. Sotomayor was born and raised (by an educated nurse) in New York City.

Still, this is just one of her many prejudices that make her such a fitting justice for the Supreme Court.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 29th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

39 Responses to “Supreme Court Reverses Sotomayor”

  1. bronzeprofessor says:

    I wonder how much attention this will get in the press.

  2. proreason says:

    The scary thing is that 4 justices sided with Red Sonya (but, small thanks, Souter was one of them).

    Scalia is 71 and Anthony Kennedy is 72. They, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito were the prevailing votes. Kennedy is not reliable.

    Pray for those 5 to have long lives.

    Perilous times.

    • bronzeprofessor says:

      Pro, The best we can do is try to keep the buzz going about this case. Maybe some in the media will catch on, and there may be a counterswell, but I doubt it.

  3. Enthalpy says:

    “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.” They should have received a promotion because they passed the test–period! Since the left continues to insist that we are all equal, that equal opportunity is not enough, and that equal outcomes are a right, we will eventually be forced to show them the error of their ways.

    • catie says:

      Yes, “the court’s sympathy”. How about following the law idiots! She’s such a tool.

    • VMAN says:

      The “vested right to a promotion” was that they PASSED the test. I heard that “Red Sonya” (I like that handle) was bitching about the tests at law school because they were not sympathetic to minorities. What a load of crap!!! They are law exams and I always thought that justice was blind or maybe in this case color blind.

    • pdsand says:

      Blacks have in the past been given a “vested right to promotion”. It was called “diversity”.

    • Steve says:

      “I heard that “Red Sonya” (I like that handle) was bitching about the tests at law school because they were not sympathetic to minorities. What a load of crap!!! They are law exams and I always thought that justice was blind or maybe in this case color blind.”

      Sotomayor – ‘Affirmative Action Baby’ | Sweetness & Light

      And you can view the clip in the article at the top of this thread.

  4. proreason says:

    FDR tried to stack the court with new justices.

    He didn’t get away with it, but I forget the details why.

    Look for the Boy King to try another angle. He probably has a few thousand Brown Shirts working on schemes right now.

    Remember, he holds that the Constitution is “flawed”.

  5. jobeth says:

    “Judge Sotomayor and the lower court panel did what judges are supposed to do, they followed precedent,”

    Ummm, and if the lemmings take a wrong turn off the nearest cliff, the precedent has been set for her to do the same? Perhaps something good will come out of her appointment after all.

    So…the rule of law has no place here? Only precedent?

    Precedent, means slavery would be still ok. Precedent would mean we are still British citizens.

    Hey Sotomayor….! The law of the land is what you should be following…NOT some wrong minded precedent.

    What’s the matter with me?! I keep forgetting “precedent” was set for her poor scores when others of color couldn’t make the grade…so she needs not to have common sense. Only the “correct” skin color.

    • pdsand says:

      She has a curious sense of precedent, didn’t she turn a 2nd amendment case, presser v illinois or something 180 degrees and apply it incorrectly in another case in which her legal scholarship was reversed by the supreme court, dc vs. heller?

    • pdsand says:

      Ha, I had to check myself because I knew I said something wrong, and she gave her ruling citing presser vs illinois after the D.C. vs Heller decision was issued. She really does have a curious sense of precedent.

    • jobeth says:

      I don’t think she understands the legal precedent is NOT the law. Wrong decisions come down all the time.

      Legal precedent is ONLY to be used as a point of reference but it should not be used to overrule the written law.

      Can you imagine how she makes her decisions? She mindlessly follows the “fad mindset” of the day. And to her it seems that the written law is the reference…but the PRECEDENT…now THAT is where her decisions come from.

      She is truly a piece of work!

  6. catie says:

    Pro, Old FDR tried to increase the membership of the Supreme Court to 13 or 15. However, I wouldn’t question that old Barry wouldn’t try this again in some other form.

  7. neocon mom says:

    The city would have been sued by the black firefighters and that was their justification for not promoting the ones who performed better on the promotion test. Common sense would tell you that the city’s defense, had they been sued by the black firefighters, would have been the fact that they hired a consulting firm to eliminate so-called cultural bias from the test. But common sense has little place in the way these types of matters are handled–often these kinds of suits are settled to avoid the expense of litigation (risk management).So the city chose to have the plaintiff that made them look more p.c., the non-black firefighters. I am heartened to see that the consequence for political correctness at all costs is high enough to make it prohibitive, and of course that the plaintiffs were vindicated.

    Also the fact that she is replacing a dissenter in this decision (although you’re right PR, Kennedy is unreliable) is also heartening. I’ll take good news whenever I can find it these days.

    And of course this case ought to be tied around the neck of Sotomayor. Public polling on the particulars of this case has heavily favored the Plaintiff. Which is precisely why the state run media will bury it/ spin it to make Obama’s nominee come out smelling like a rose.

  8. Georgfelis says:

    Lets play “Suppose” for a minute.

    Suppose: That the city had given the test, and 19 black firefighters scored the highest and were eligible for the promotion. Then the city decided not to promote them, because there were no whites or hispanics to promote too.

    Would there have been great (and justified) claims of discrimination? You betcha, complete with the NAACP chorus.

    So since this happened exactly the other way around, why is it that discrimination is not easily identified?

    • wardmama4 says:

      Your supposition is a fantasy, as the City would not even hesitate for a nanosecond not to promote and publish in every single msm outlet that hey, look here at how ‘fair’ and ‘just’ our test was and how ‘smart’ our black firefighters are. (And how dumb our white firefighters are).

      And it does not matter at all – discrimination is discrimination. It does not matter who is discriminated against and who is doing the discriminating.

      And until that attitude is ingrained into each and every mind in America – we will continue to see people (mostly minorities) complaining that the tests are racially biased and whites being marginalized and discriminated against to favor someone – not on their character, not on their education, not on their skills and talents – but rather on their color.

      And that is discrimination any way you, ahem, color it.

      BTW –

      Lets play “Suppose” for a minute.

      Games are for children. Grow up before you participate in debate, discussion and serious civil and social matters in America.

    • Georgfelis says:

      Wardmama4, thank you for proving my point so eloquently.

    • Barbie says:

      Dear Georgfelis – you make the same point as Wardmama4 – it’s just written in a slightly different way. Yes, Georgfelis, there would have been claims of discrimination. Why is it that discrimination is not easily identified? Because we’ve had many, many years that discrimination only occurs only to ‘minorities’ (I know that’s a very simplistic, quick answer. Others here can give far more learned responses incorporating culture, biases, history etc etc. But it’s the same bottmo line.)

      And, Georgfelis, the only rules I know of on this blog is to use proper punctuation and avoid vulgarities and violent language. I think, however, SG should add a rule about reading and understanding someone’s comments before jumping on the commenter. Georgfelis – ‘Play suppose’ all you want – it’s called being ‘hypothetical’ and we all engage in it. Your points are as welcome here as anyone else. Unless there’s a special ‘subcommittee’ of self-assigned censors here??

    • wardmama4 says:

      I must apologize – I did jump on the first part (let’s play Suppose for a minute) and did not catch the end. My problem not yours.
      I must remember to read an entire post – twice – to get the real gist of it before commenting.

      And yes, you and I are on the same page – just from different angles. Again, my apologies.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      I love it when we all “PLAY” like adults here!!

  9. jrmcdonald says:

    Today, the court helped to restore the 14th amendment.

  10. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    The Left’s insistence that everything be made fair to all has made life intolerable. I thought that if you didn’t score high enough on an exam, it didn’t mean that someone was intentionally holding you back. It simply meant that you needed to spend more time in the books. Where’s the incentive to get ahead and enjoy the rewards of your hard efforts if someone in authority says it isn’t fair that you’ve prospered and someone else hasn’t? It galls me to no end that Ginsburg would even say that those men had no right to their promotions.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      What becomes obvious to even the casual observer is the gamesmanship, for lack of a better word, that some will use to forward their agenda. Even if that agenda is simply a bigger paycheck or status within the community.

      When I was an enlisted guy in the USAF, they used (and may still) a system called WAPS or Weighted Airman Promotion System. First, you had to be eligible by time in grade and not have been in some sort of trouble. Your time in grade/time-in-service, performance reports, decorations and two test scores all carried weight toward your WAPS score. Odd thing was that that score, based on the needs of the government, could become a floating polynomial. In other words, if a person scored poorly one year for staff sergeant, the cutoff could still allow him to make the grade because the USAF needed more staff sergeants, whereas someone a year later who score much higher, may still not make it because the USAF needed fewer. The question was always, “What’s the cutoff?”

      However, in a perfect world, such a system was designed to eliminate bias. But also however, no perfect system exists. There is always SOME sort of bias. For example, one troop may have a crappy supervisor who doesn’t like him, thus he gets a poor performance report. The test scores and time in service, etc are definitely straight-line weights as are the test scores.

      However, I saw little, if any racial bias in any of the promotion system. If anything, it was often more than fair and by that, I saw absolute idiots get promoted to the next higher grade.

      I never heard any complaints of racial bias about the tests since one test was PME, or professional military education, those things you needed to know to be a member of the USAF and the other was the SKT, or skilled knowledge test which had questions about your particular job code. These tests were designed by a board of Chief Master Sergeants and were revised periodically.

      To me, it seemed pretty fair.

      It wasn’t overly complicated or burdensome and even required a little studying.

      The most subjective part was the performance report and, to be honest, it got abused but not in the way you’d think. The ratings went from 1 to 9. If you didn’t get a 9, you were not going to get promoted, period. People knew this and thus, trying to be objective and even so far as to make an effort to be fair, supervisors often wrote 9’s. We mostly felt that the Air Force had placed so much emphasis on “up or out” that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you couldn’t make rank, there was a max number of years you could stay. Once you reached staff sergeant, you could stay a full 20.

      Additionally, it was harder to make rank in some career fields than in others. For example, I was in weapons and the career field was not only immensely disliked, it had super-high turnover. There was lots of abuse as well. But, with such a high number of required personnel in that field, the cutoff scores were lower than in say, boom operator which had very few personnel in that AFSC, or Specialty Code (job description).

      So, for firemen, I can see a similar rank system being in place. However, what the whole subject matter doesn’t discuss is the non-measurables. Such as if the candidate carries more than their fair share of the weight, or do they just do their job and nothing more? Is he personable, gets along well with his department members; Are they stable? And, until recently, I thought that being liked is not essential in the workplace but realized that that’s only true for SOME workplaces.

      A truly empirical and fair system? Doesn’t exist. Wherever there are people, there is no guarantee of objectivity. It’s always going to be slanted, even to a small degree.

    • jobeth says:

      “It galls me to no end that Ginsburg would even say that those men had no right to their promotions.”

      Me too. Why even test at all? I can just see the conversation the next time they need a lieutenant…

      “Oh…they are black?…Well of course, they deserve the promotion Everyone knows simply the color of ones skin makes for a better officer.”

  11. njyankee says:

    “By the way, lest we forget, Ms. Sotomayor has often admitted that her own test scores for college (including her SAT and LSAT) were not as good as those of her fellow classmates at Princeton and Yale:
    But Ms. Sotomayor insists that was because the tests are ‘culturally biased,’ and indeed everybody knows that.”

    I can’t, for the life of me, find the cultural bias in geometry. But I guess I’m just not a true Latino seeing as how I was able to crack the white supremacist enigma that is the law of cosines.

    • jobeth says:

      I”ve always had difficulty understanding how you can word a test at the professional level to be culturally biased.

      Possibly in a high school setting, but even there it seems a question is question and should be based on content of the study. Either they learn the subject matter or they don’t. If they don’t because of poor study habits or life style barriers…that’s another whole situation. Tackle THAT situation. The world is not going to change its requirements to fit their unique view of the world no matter how “fair” it would be in their eyes.

      By the time you get to college or university level I can’t imagine someone still having to overcome a cultural barrier.

      I just don’t get it. How dense do you have to be for that to happen?

      Can you just see the conversation when a firefighter goes into a fire without proper equipment and causes a death?

      “Oh, I’m sorry, but you lost your child because that part of the course study was culturally bias and I didn’t understand it.”

    • greasywrench says:

      Of course those (and most) tests were/are biased. Tests are supposed to discriminate…. against the unprepared, ignorant, and the stupid. Can anyone think of a better reason for a test?

    • jobeth says:

      Greasywrench…I see your point! :-) And I completely I agree with you, however I don’t see that as cultural bias. That is just rightfully weeding out the stupid or uninformed. Of course they claim that as cultural bias.

      They are saying they can’t learn because they come from a “poor” or deprived background. They want the test to better reflect THEIR experiences in life…not the one we use (or should use) now as a goal…not one that holds up the betterment of thought and ideas as a goal.

      Can you see one of those questions?

      Q- “Yo! Bro! Did yo see DA bro hoes take DA “deck,”? ( a glassine envelope of a white powdery substance.) (FYI…copied this sentence from somewhere else…I’m not that street savy…LOL)

      Yep…she might get that one right where you and I would fail that test. That’s fair…right? > :- I (sarc)

      I would be so embarrassed to know I got in a university slot or a professional job even though I didn’t have the intelligence to be there.

      If I did get one under those conditions, I surely wouldn’t be bragging about it like Sotomayor. That alone says volumes about her smarts.

      What she and others who get affirmative action helps are saying is that they admit they aren’t very smart and can’t make it without a “handicap allowance” (as in golf).

      As I said…maybe…maybe a child can be culturally deprived, but somehow, by the time they get to be an adult, surly they can’t (I know..they do anyway) expect to be spoon fed due to “cultural bias”.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      greasywrench said ..

      “Of course those (and most) tests were/are biased. Tests are supposed to discriminate…. against the unprepared, ignorant, and the stupid. Can anyone think of a better reason for a test?”

      Is it too late for a test for the Presidency? It certainly seems o-blah-blah is indeed unprepared, ignorant, and stupid.

      (gotta come up with a test for the voters, too) (bye, bye ACORN)

    • Liberals Demise says:

      A Great Man once said, “Stupid is as Stupid does!!”
      Forrest Gump from his upcoming Best Seller, “Momma says …..”

    • jobeth says:

      “Forrest Gump ”

      I’ve heard of him…brilliant man! ;-D

  12. mathews says:

    notice how the Liberal Socialist Democrat Media WHORES all claim “White” when in fact some Hispanics were also Affirmative Discriminated against, and the policy was Blacks ONLY for promotion.

  13. Howard Roark says:

    White men my age were born into a country that told us to stand in the back of the hiring line, simply because of the color of our skin. Our nation of women, blacks, and other minorities laughed at me as I said, “this isn’t fair” on a few occasions in my life. “Now you know how we feel”, they derisively replied. The only problem is that the discrimination against me is federally mandated–minority discrimination isn’t.

    Indeed, I don’t know how they feel. They’ve never had laws against them and a nation of courts and judges like Sotomayor who couldn’t see racism when it came to my people. If there is such a thing as discrimination against hiring blacks, the employer who commits it is met with immmediate litigation by breathless courts waiting to hear such cases.

    Forty years of punnishing me has left me with a bad attitude, for I didn’t do anything to deserve it. When Leahy defends Sotomayor’s unsigned support of the further killing of Frank Ricci’s dreams to do better for his family, he further drives the knife into all of our white backs.

    Leahy is begging the next John Brown incident in America to asemble the disenfranchised with knives and rage in their hearts.

    • wardmama4 says:

      Not only that HR – but where do people like me fit in – raised completely utterly (supposedly rich) conservative, religious white – but I’m not completely white? I could ‘pass’ for a minority, if I wanted to – many people have told me, don’t mail that resume – go in – you’ll get that job in a heartbeat. But is that fair to the other applicants?

      I still struggle with filling out these ‘racial’ questions – as 1/2 of my background is a great big ? mark and it does appear to be a very big part of who I am.

      And I’ve have known a ‘black’ family – that is whiter than I will ever be – and I know personally the horrible struggle they had as the ‘black’ community did not want to accept them – even though more than 3/4 of their genetics (which is higher than The One’s ™) is black. Is that ‘fair’ and ‘justice’ and of course the Liberal’s favorite word – tolerant?

      But that is what the Liberal’s want – chaos, anger, hate, divisiveness, anarchy – so that indeed when the next John Brown incident in America happens – they can step in and take away all of our Rights in one single swoop.

      And then we will be Iran – run by a puppet dictator who is controlled by unknown forces bent on World Domination.

      Hitler would be so proud.

  14. canary says:

    At a young age she attended the private Blessed Sacrament School. (reports are her brother also attended) (then there’s her only child with a set of encyclopeidia’s story, she then went

    She went to a private Catholic “Cardinal Spellman High School”academically rigorous parochial school. It was segregated when she attended.

    Sounds too familiar, from another whiner pretending to grow up impoverished. snif. Quick to pull out the ole race card they wear on their shoulders.

  15. canary says:

    JoeBeth, I agree with you. Also, another thing is the courts write what ever they want as to how they came to a decision. They use formatted outdated rulings themselves. They keep earlier rulings in their data-base, that have been overturned, or actually won in the Supreme Court. The system is so corrupt. The main objective and goal of judges is to squash a case and dismiss a case. They are all made to have to be appealed and appealed, knowing the claiments have limited funds, yet the federal govt has the U.S. Attorney General and unlimited rescourses and total control.
    It’s all so corrupt, and Obama’s main purpose in choosing Sotomayor is he wants someone to change the constitution.
    He want a yes wo-man. He wants a puppet in the Supreme Court. Obama wants total control, and she will be the one to do it. It didn’t surprise me when Obama said no testing would be done. It would be interesting to know her grade on the bar exam. In Obama’s eyes, he considers himself the one to run the world. There is no one he admires but himself. Period.

  16. badcrow says:

    A couple of observations…

    First, this should have never gotten past the first court case which should have been decided for the NH Firemen instantly and unanimously. That this issue went further is a scary testament to how deeply Americans are invested in wrong-headed ideas.

    Second, the idea of “biased” testing is questionable. Tests of any form are “biased” by definition. All tests are tilted in favor of the testee who has accumulated the knowledge needed to correctly answer the questions. In other words, tests are designed to measure your knowledge of certain information. If you KNOW the information the test “favors” you. If you don’t know what is required, then you can’t score adequately. What does race, culture or backround have to do with accumulating the knowledge necessary to answer questions that measure your knowledge? The answer is NONE. 2+2=4 for both whites and minorities. Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec.7 no matter what race you are. Questions related to Fire Fighting also have distinct and correct answers which have nothing to do with the ethnicity of the test taker. Because Fire Dept. Jobs are so dangerous, it’s reasonable to assume that candidates for command that have not accumulated the required knowledge measured by objective testing are absolutely UNQUALIFIED for command and are dangerous both to the public and those under their command.
    “Cultural” biases in testing could exist, say if the test was given in Swahili and a few of the testees did not have command of that tounge, however it could also be said that even that “command” is prerequisite knowledge that is required….
    Finding reasonable examples of cultural biases is possible, though off-hand, I’m having a hard time thinking of one. But in general the concept has been expanded and inflated well beyond it’s actual effects on testing….

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