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Roberts Court Considers First Race Discrimination Case


April 7, 2009

White New Haven, Conn., firefighter Frank Ricci sued the city after he lost out on a promotion. The city deauthorized a number of offered promotions, including the one Ricci applied for, after the results of the standard qualification exam revealed that of fifteen positions, 14 would go to White firefighters and none would go to African-Americans. The case is now before the Supreme Court. Court observers believe that the decision could extend beyond the public employment setting and affect hiring and promotion practices of private employers as well. Chief Justice Roberts, leading a five Justice majority, has already made it clear that he believes race should not be a factor considered in the government’s decisions. The Obama administration, though, has sided with the city, arguing that it was justified in dropping the test if it had “gross exclusionary effects on minorities.” A decision is expected before the end of the Court’s June 2009 term.

A Chicago Tribune article summarizing the lawsuit is found here. The Supreme Court of the United States case docket is found here [http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/07-1428.htm].

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