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Supreme Court decides Ricci Case

 
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 09:10 am
In a 5-4 decision, the court has overturned the lower court ruling that denied promotions to firefighters who had passed their promotion exams due to the fact that not enough minorities passed the exam.

I think this is a proper ruling. But the real question this begs, is will this ruling give congress pause in regards to Sotomayer's nomination to the Supreme Court? Kennedy seemed to indicate that the lower court (including Sotomayer) gave the case only casual thought before making a ruling. This would appear to be a slap at Sotomayer.

Is this a big slap or do you think it will have no bearing on her nomination?

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Type: Discussion • Score: 18 • Views: 10,790 • Replies: 228

 
JPB
 
  3  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 09:14 am
@CoastalRat,
Some will try to make it into a political slap during her hearings but it isn't a slap at all. A 5-4 decision means that 4 of the 9 Justices agreed with the lower courts. Not exactly a sweeping damnation of the lower court opinions.
0 Replies
 
Yankee
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 09:24 am
I think the opinion of Justice Ginsberg is somewhat confusing.

"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." "

Then what is the purpose of the test? Just pick out of a line-up...1 white guy, 1 black guy, one hispanic guy.....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/29/AR2009062901608_pf.html

I believe this decision will have consequences to the nominee.
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 09:27 am
@CoastalRat,
CoastalRat wrote:

In a 5-4 decision, the court has overturned the lower court ruling that denied promotions to firefighters who had passed their promotion exams due to the fact that not enough minorities passed the exam.

I think this is a proper ruling. But the real question this begs, is will this ruling give congress pause in regards to Sotomayer's nomination to the Supreme Court? Kennedy seemed to indicate that the lower court (including Sotomayer) gave the case only casual thought before making a ruling. This would appear to be a slap at Sotomayer.

Is this a big slap or do you think it will have no bearing on her nomination?



Republicans will not fillibuster.
Demos will vote to confirm.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:18 am
@Yankee,
I believe this decision will have the same consequences as will the olour of shoes she wears to the senate hearings.
H2O MAN
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:22 am
@dyslexia,


At least the court overturned Sodacracker's bigoted ruling.
0 Replies
 
Yankee
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:27 am
It was not a bigoted decision. It was racist.

Where have standards gone in this country?

This test was discriminatory. All tests discriminate.

Test discriminate between those who KNOW the answers and those who do not.

For her to be a party to a racist decision is cause for concern, IMO.
H2O MAN
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:37 am
@Yankee,
Yankee wrote:

It was not a bigoted decision. It was racist.


Oops! I thought the word "racist" was owned by liberals...

Having Sodacracker's racist decision overturned renews my faith in this country.
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:40 am
@CoastalRat,
CoastalRat wrote:
Is this a big slap or do you think it will have no bearing on her nomination?

It might come up in Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, but it won't be a big deal. It's not like this is the first time a nominee has had a decision overturned by the supreme court.
Yankee
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:48 am
@H2O MAN,
No. Liberal do not own the Dictionary.

The English Language say this...

:rac⋅ism
  /ˈreɪsɪzəm/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [rey-siz-uhm] Show IPA
Use racist in a Sentence
"noun
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
Origin:

0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:49 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

I believe this decision will have the same consequences
as will the olour of shoes she wears to the senate hearings.

Will she use her spats to influence the vote ?
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:53 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

CoastalRat wrote:
Is this a big slap or do you think it will have no bearing on her nomination?

It might come up in Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, but it won't be a big deal.


What a shame... and here I was hoping for change... Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:54 am
Here is the Washington Posts account:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/29/AR2009062901608_pf.html

The key points of contention:

Quote:
"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," wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the liberals on the court and said the decision knocks the pegs from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.


Quote:
The promotion test results produced a heated debate in New Haven, and government lawyers warned the city's civil service board that if it certified the test results, minority firefighters might have a good case for claiming discrimination under Title VII. Federal guidelines presume discrimination when a test has such a disparate impact on minorities. . . . .

The board split 2 to 2, which meant the exam was not certified. Those who opposed using the results said they worried the test must be flawed in some way that disadvantaged minorities. (The test questions have not been made public.)

The white firefighters filed suit, saying their rights had been violated under both the law and the Constitution's protections of due process.

District Judge Janet Bond Arterton dismissed their suit before it went to trial. She said in her 47-page decision that the city was justified under the law in junking the test, even if it could not explain its flaws.

The case then went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, where Sotomayor and judges Robert Sack and Rosemary S. Pooler heard the appeal. Oral arguments lasted an hour, with Sotomayor leading the questioning, as is her reputation. But instead of issuing a detailed and signed opinion, the panel said in a brief summary that, although it was "not unsympathetic" to the plight of the white firefighters, it unanimously affirmed the lower court's decision for "reasons stated in the thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned opinion."

Kennedy's opinion referred to the judgment of Sotomayor and the other judges only by noting the short opinion.

Kennedy said the standard for whether an employer may discard a test is whether there is a strong reason to the employer to believe that the test is flawed in a way that discriminates against minorities, not just by looking at the results.


I am ambivalent whether Sotomayor made her previous decision based on Ginsburg's argument or whether she made it on the argument that the city has the right to throw out a test for any reason.

At any rate, I don't think this one case is sufficient reason to either praise or condemn Sotomayor's judicial temperament or bias.

I agree that it will not be a factor barring her confirmation.


Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 11:16 am
Of one thing i feel certain--and that is that conservatives hope this will cause problems for Sotomayor. Conservative web sites which i've scanned this afternoon are already alleging that the Frank Ricci case is the "most controversial," "the most crucial ruling" and "the most important" case which Sotomayor has been involved with (all the descriptors in quotes were taken from conservative web sites). They hope that Sotomayor's nomination can be torpedoed.

But, leaving aside that this is not as important as the conservative "blog-o-sphere" and conservative bulletin boards would like to portray it, conservatives are only fooling themselves if they think a nomination defeat would stop this administration from appointing judges whose rulings they approve of. Ford, Regean and Bush père and fils appointed all but two of the members of the currently sitting court. Seven of the justices currently sitting have been appointed by Republican presidents. Conservatives often fill their pants over the subject of "judicial activism" and "legislating from the bench," but it's usually a case of whose ox has been gored. They have been happy enough with the ruling in District of Columbia versus Heller which holds that the second amendment protects an individual's right of self-defense, although no such right is anywhere mentioned in the text of the constitution. I find that conservatives attempt to portray themselves as "strict constructionists" only so long as it coincides with their political philosophy, but are happy to abandon such scruples if interpretive rulings happen to coincide with their political philosophy.

So, the long reign of Republican-appointed justices now seems threatened to them. They're now living in a pipe dream in which they think Mr. Obama can be prevented from appointing people whose rulings they don't like. But it is a dream. Even if Sotomayor were not confirmed, Mr. Obama will continue to appoint people whom c0nservatives will abhor. They just can't win this one, and it's making them squirm.
0 Replies
 
slkshock7
 
  0  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 11:23 am
@Foxfyre,
foxfyre wrote:
WashPo wrote:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the liberals on the court and said the decision knocks the pegs from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.


And Ginsburg wins the chicken little award "The sky is falling! The sky is falling! on yet another supreme court decision.

I agree this will have little or no affect on her confirmation. Repubs will wisely keep their ammo dry for a nominee that changes the slant of the court.
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 11:31 am
@slkshock7,
Yes, I am sick of judges using the Civil Rights Act as justification for racism. I am hoping Sotomayor actually did make her decision on the "city's right to throw out the test" argument as a separate issue from racism considerations, though I think Kennedy was right that 'fear of litigation' is insufficient reason to violate an employee's civil rights.

But after reading what Sotomayor's peers think about her and how they evaluate her, I think we could do a lot worse than her on the High Court. If Republicans are ever going to clean up their act and regain credibility and the public trust, they need to carefully pick and choose their fights. That boondoggle of a Cap & Trade bill was a fight that needed to be fought. The Sotomayor nomination is not.
H2O MAN
 
  0  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 11:48 am
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:
That boondoggle of a Cap & Trade bill was a fight that needed to be fought.

The Sotomayor nomination is not.


Agreed!
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 11:50 am

What do we EXPECT from Obama ?
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:25 pm
So what is the remedy for the plaintiff here? The city decided not to promote anyone. Is the court going to make them hand out promotions? If so, how many? Is the plaintiff going to get cash and then no promotions anyway? I tend to agree with the white firefighters on this one, but I understand the dissenting opinion. By chosing to duck the issue completely and not hire anyone, I don't see how anyone can say they were discriminated against, even though it's understood that if the results had broken out the way the city wanted, promotions would have been given out. Does the lower court have to decide all of that?
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:34 pm
@CoastalRat,
Anytime the SC overturns a lower court ruling, it's a big slap to the judge or judges responsible for the ruling. The SC doesn't usually criticize the lower court in its ruling so that makes this slap sting all the more.

However, there is very little chance that this will derail Sotomayer's nomination.

The only way I can imagine such a result would be if this decision results in intense media coverage of the underlying case and Sotomayer's participation in the overturned ruling.

I don't think that is going to happen to the degree that public opinion will coalesce around the notion that Sotomayer is not qualified to be on the SC.

As much as I would like to see Judge Sotomayer denied the opportunity to join the SC, I don't think her appointment will make much of a difference.

Souter has so reliably voted with the Court's liberal bloc, that Sotomayer in replacing him isn't going to tip the current balance, anymore than Roberts replacing Rhenquist did.

Alito replacing O'Connor was much more significant.

John Roberts - conservative - 54
John Paul Stevens - liberal - 89
Antonin Scalia - conservative - 73
Anthony Kennedy - swing - 73
Clarence Thomas - conservative - 61
Ruth Bader Ginzburg - liberal - 76
Stephen Breyer - liberal - 71
Samuel Alito - conservative - 59

Aside from being pretty old, Stevens hinted that he would retire if a Democrat succeeded George Bush. I would bet he will do so before Obama completes his first term. A reliable liberal vote, his replacement with another liberal will not tip the scales.

Judge Ginzburg's health is a big question (treated for pancreatic cancer in Feb 2009) and so retirement in the near term is a real possibility, but again replacing one liberal with another will not result in a shift.

I'm unaware of any other justice with health problems, but if Obama serves two terms, Scalia and Kennedy will both be on the verge of 80 by the time he leaves office. The opportunity to replace either of these justices will result in a shift to the left, and a pretty reliable bloc of 5 liberals.

Obviously, anything can happen between now and 2012 or 2016, but Obama's chances for creating a long lasting liberal majority on the SC are less than even.


 

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