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FROM THIS EPISODE

By a one-vote majority, the US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of white firefighters who claimed they were victims of reverse discrimination. Will the decision clarify the rules on race and employment or lead to future confusion?  What will it mean for the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor? Also, Bernard Madoff is sentenced to 150 years in federal prison, and the president of Honduras is overthrown by a military coup. What's the impact in the rest of Latin America?


Banner image: New Haven Fire Department

Producers:
Gary Scott
Andrea Brody
Christian Bordal

Main Topic The US Supreme Court and Reverse Discrimination 33 MIN, 55 SEC

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? 

Guests:
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate.com (@DahliaLithwick)
Richard Thompson Ford, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review
Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times (@newton_jim)

The Race Card

Richard Ford

Reporter's Notebook Military Coup in Honduras 9 MIN, 17 SEC

For the first time in 16 years, an elected president has been replaced by a military coup in Central America. Manuel Zelaya is now in Costa Rica, where he was taken yesterday by soldiers who kidnapped him, in his pijamas, from his home in Tegucigalpa. He's been replaced as President of Honduras by Roberto Micheletti, a congressional leader from Zelaya's own party, but one of his enemies. Frances Robles of the Miami Herald is in Tegucigalpa.

Guests:
Frances Robles, Miami Herald

The Party of Death

Ramesh Ponnuru

Making News Bernie Madoff Receives the Maximum Sentence of 150 Years 7 MIN, 47 SEC

There was a burst of applause in a Manhattan courtroom today when federal Judge Denny Chin gave financial swindler Bernard Madoff the maximum term of 150 years in prison. For a 71-year-old man, even the minimum would have been a life sentence. Judge Chin said he was sending some messages. One of Madoff's victims, Burt Ross, told reporters he lost $5 million and cited Dante's Inferno, which assigns violators of trust to the lowest depths of hell. Diana Henriques is senior financial writer for the New York Times.

Guests:
Diana Henriques, Senior Financial Writer, New York Times

Justice for All

Jim Newton

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