In 2003, New Haven, Connecticut said it would promote firefighters based on a written and oral exam. But when the results were in, no blacks and only two Hispanics scored well enough to become lieutenants or captains. New Haven then scrapped the exam. White firefighter Frank Ricci, who did well on the test, sued for reverse discrimination. Today, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 in his favor, saying the white firefighters were unfairly denied promotions based on their race. Dissenters said the white workers deserved "sympathy," but "had no vested right to promotion." Is the decision, which could alter employment practices nationwide, a case of "judicial activism," conservative style? Will it have an impact on President Obama's nominee to the court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was effectively overruled by today's action?
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate (@dahlialithwick)
Richard Thompson Ford, Stanford Law School
Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review / American Enterprise Institute (@RameshPonnuru)
Jim Newton, Blueprint (@newton_jim)