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.A very disappointing, if unsurprising, ruling. Typically, it was Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas in the majority, with Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, and Stevens dissenting. Ginsburg authored the dissent and noted, that 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."
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.
They had no vested right to promotion is pretty much the crux of the whole case, as far as I'm concerned. Seven words that say a hell of a lot about entitlement and privilege.
Related reading: CNN Poll: Two-thirds think firefighters were discriminated against.
Also see: Steve and LeMew.