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High Court Poised To Closely Weigh Civil Rights Laws
Washington Post ^ | April 19, 2009 | Robert Barnes

Posted on 04/19/2009 4:45:01 AM PDT by reaganaut1

The Supreme Court has an opportunity to reaffirm or reshape the nation's civil rights laws as it faces a rare confluence of cases over the next two weeks, including a high-profile challenge brought by white firefighters who claim they lost out on promotions because of the "color of their skin."

...

The most emotionally charged case is from the New Haven, Conn., firefighters, whose complaints define the real-life quandary that sometimes accompanies government efforts to ensure racial equality.

The firefighters accuse city officials of violating civil rights laws and the Constitution by throwing out a promotions test on which they performed well but no blacks scored high enough to be eligible. The city responds that relying on test results with such wide racial discrepancies could have violated federal law and left them open to being sued by minorities.

...

When the results of the 2003 exams came back, only white firefighters, including one who is Hispanic, scored high enough to be considered for the openings for lieutenants and captains. All 27 black firefighters who took the test were below the cutoff.

After tumultuous public hearings, with minority groups arguing that the tests were flawed and the white firefighters saying officials were caving to political pressure, the city's Civil Service Board voted not to certify the results. The promotions remain in limbo.

The city argues that the test it commissioned, in which 60 percent of the score came from a multiple-choice questionnaire and 40 percent from an interview, must have been biased, despite its best intentions. It is not specific about the problems with the test, though it says the exam did not measure "command presence" and should have given more weight to the interview.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Connecticut
KEYWORDS: affirmativeaction; newhaven; quotas; ricci
The question is whether "government efforts to ensure racial equality" will focus on equal treatment or equal results. The two are in conflict, and Obama and the Dems favor the latter definition.
1 posted on 04/19/2009 4:45:01 AM PDT by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1

This case is a slam dunk in front of any kind of fair court


2 posted on 04/19/2009 4:47:56 AM PDT by dennisw (Your action becomes your habit. Your habit becomes your character, that becomes your destiny)
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To: dennisw

You expect the SCOTUS to do the right thing?
If they were in the habit of doing the “right thing” a lot of things would be different in this country AND we’d have a different President today...


3 posted on 04/19/2009 4:55:13 AM PDT by MrLee (Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalyim!! God bless Eretz Israel.)
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To: reaganaut1

The simple question: Did you pass the friggin test or not? If yes, great, if not...get back on the truck and roll the hose.


4 posted on 04/19/2009 4:57:03 AM PDT by cbkaty (I may not always post...but I am always here......)
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To: reaganaut1

Promotions because of the “color of their skin.”Thr only reason obama is in the WH and look at the mess he has made in such a short time the msm giggles.


5 posted on 04/19/2009 5:00:46 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: reaganaut1
The city argues that the test it commissioned, in which 60 percent of the score came from a multiple-choice questionnaire and 40 percent from an interview, must have been biased...

May I translate?

The city believes blacks could not learn the subject matter as well as whites and latinos.

If I were black, I would sue the city for defamation.

6 posted on 04/19/2009 5:04:50 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: Erik Latranyi
The real translation of that comment "must have been biased" really says that the ones who couldn't pass their test are inferior in some manner and must be 'protected under the law.'

If I were one of the failing candidates I would be highly pissed right now. I also would commit myself to actually 'study' for the next test.

7 posted on 04/19/2009 5:09:37 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: reaganaut1
government efforts to ensure racial equality.

Glendower: "I can summon demons from the vasty deep!"

Hotspur: "Why so can I, and so can any man. But will they come when you do call them?"

Glendower: "I can teach you, coz, to command the Devil!"

Hotspur: "And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil— By telling the truth. Tell truth and shame the devil."

8 posted on 04/19/2009 5:11:06 AM PDT by Jim Noble (They are willing to kill for socialism...but not to die for it.)
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To: reaganaut1
The question is whether "government efforts to ensure racial equality" will focus on equal treatment or equal results.

It's interesting that to liberals results only matter when you're talking about what that color of skin people in various positions have.

In education, health care, welfare programs, etc., results don't matter at all, only intentions.

9 posted on 04/19/2009 5:11:57 AM PDT by denydenydeny ("I'm sure this goes against everything you've been taught, but right and wrong do exist"-Dr House)
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To: MrLee

My bet is the Supreme Court will come through on this one and 15 minutes after the announcement Ruth BadAss Ginzborg will keel over writing on the floor in a conniption fit snapping at people’s ankles


10 posted on 04/19/2009 5:14:43 AM PDT by dennisw (Your action becomes your habit. Your habit becomes your character, that becomes your destiny)
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To: reaganaut1
All I can say is that it better get done soon because once Obama gets done with this court you'll think they were rendering decisions from Mars.
11 posted on 04/19/2009 5:18:08 AM PDT by RU88 (The false messiah can not change water into wine any more than he can get unity from diversity.)
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To: denydenydeny
It's interesting that to liberals results only matter when you're talking about what that color of skin people in various positions have.

Absolutely!

The city could never answer this question honestly:

If the results were reversed and only blacks scored above the standard while whites and hispanics scored below, would you have discounted the test?

We all know the real answer is *no* which would indicate the reverse racism that is taking place here.

12 posted on 04/19/2009 5:19:35 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: reaganaut1
What should be banned is any type of racial classification. I am deeply offended and generally refuse to answer any “optional” questionnaire or government form that asks me to indicate my race. First that information should have no relevance whether I can or cannot do the job and second it leads to this racial based promotion.
13 posted on 04/19/2009 5:26:26 AM PDT by The Great RJ (chain.)
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To: dennisw

Oh, you Pollyana optimist, you.


14 posted on 04/19/2009 5:27:11 AM PDT by gitmo (History books will read that Lincoln freed the slaves and Obama enslaved the free.)
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To: reaganaut1; dennisw
I think you have it about right, the issue boils down to equality of opportunity or equality of outcome.

We are not talking about somebody coming around to read your water meter, we are talking about life and death situations often in very exposed in dangerous places. The firefighter' s risks are many fold those of a policeman on the beat so the hiring of firefighters is not a place for social engineering and for affirmative action. You are looking for action heroes not for models to pose in a Gap advertisement.

It is regrettable that the test in question contained a 40% subjective element which was the interview. It makes the case for the white fire fighting applicants less objective. Nonetheless, we can make some observations.

The Case law as I understand it from this article is that tests which result in statistically discriminatory results are invalid unless they bear a direct relationship to job performance:

At any rate, the city says it was bound by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which requires employers not to rely on hiring or promotional tests that have a "disparate impact" on minorities unless they can show a "business necessity."

So the Constitution requires hiring based on race to achieve statistical balance even in the face of objective tests unless the employer can demonstrate a "business necessity." One can hardly think of an occupation where job performance is more of a "business necessity" than climbing through the fourth story window of a burning building to save grandma.

Clearly, a Fire Department is entitled to rely on tests which result in statistically "disparate impacts" unless the test itself is flawed. This raises the question of the scope of discretion in the employer issuing the test to determine whether it reveals a business necessity. Which is another way of asking, what is the scope of review by the courts? Since this is a civil rights case, all of the discretion and latitude normally given to such an employer or city is very strictly construed and limited. In other words the courts feel quite free to interpose their judgment about what real firefighters should be like because we're dealing with race. The legal question should be, does the test bear a reasonable and rational relationship to its legitimate purpose? If so, the courts inquiry should stop.

So it will all come down to a subjective judgment on the part of Justice Kennedy, just as the Washington Post said.

Justice Kennedy's decision will probably come down to whether he wants equality of opportunity or equality of outcome. This matter stands as yet another reason why I say that all politics in America is not local, but racial.


15 posted on 04/19/2009 5:29:36 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford

Justice Kennedy’s decision will probably come down to whether he wants equality of opportunity or equality of outcome. This matter stands as yet another reason why I say that all politics in America is not local, but racial..........

Tribal is more accurate and the most tribalist are Blacks and Hispanics. Whites can’t wait to give it all away and their voting for 0boma proves that America is post racial/post tribal as far as they are concerned. Jews vote for their enemies and whites vote for their enemies. Blacks and Hispanics do not


16 posted on 04/19/2009 5:35:19 AM PDT by dennisw (Your action becomes your habit. Your habit becomes your character, that becomes your destiny)
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To: dennisw; reaganaut1

I can see where a test could be biased to user terms specific to one culture over another. But it seems the burden would be on the party that wanted to throw out the test to show it was so designed. A simple disparity in results in insufficient to prove bias in the nature of the test.


17 posted on 04/19/2009 5:39:37 AM PDT by gitmo (History books will read that Lincoln freed the slaves and Obama enslaved the free.)
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To: reaganaut1

Obama is presdient ONLY because of the color of his skin. Anyone looking at the facts objectively wouldhave to conclude that a white guy with the same tissue-thin resume as Obama, and the same lack of experience, and the same drug use and the same associations with shady characters, would never have got past the first primary.


18 posted on 04/19/2009 5:44:08 AM PDT by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: reaganaut1

And it’s not a question of “ensuring racial equality” but is political, and political only, in nature.


19 posted on 04/19/2009 5:46:20 AM PDT by A_Former_Democrat
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To: dennisw

“Tribal is more accurate and the most tribalist are Blacks and Hispanics. Whites can’t wait to give it all away and their voting for 0boma proves that America is post racial/post tribal as far as they are concerned. Jews vote for their enemies and whites vote for their enemies. Blacks and Hispanics do not.”

That’s a fact. Which begs the question: Which of those groups show the most intelligence when it comes to their own self-interest?


20 posted on 04/19/2009 5:48:15 AM PDT by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: denydenydeny

Excellent point.


21 posted on 04/19/2009 5:51:27 AM PDT by Maceman
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To: nathanbedford
At any rate, the city says it was bound by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which requires employers not to rely on hiring or promotional tests that have a "disparate impact" on minorities unless they can show a "business necessity."

So the Constitution requires hiring based on race to achieve statistical balance even in the face of objective tests unless the employer can demonstrate a "business necessity." One can hardly think of an occupation where job performance is more of a "business necessity" than climbing through the fourth story window of a burning building to save grandma.

I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me this is NOT what the Constitution requires, but rather what Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act says. Two different things. It seems to me that the 14th Amendment would make this part of Title null and void.

Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

(emphasis mine)
22 posted on 04/19/2009 5:51:36 AM PDT by gitmo (History books will read that Lincoln freed the slaves and Obama enslaved the free.)
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To: reaganaut1

SCOTUS: No time to decide if a president must be legally qualified to occupy the office as defined by the constitution.

How can anyone have one iota of respect for the Supreme Court when they dodge, weave and evade the most important constitutional issue of the day?

All of caucasion Washington DC, the media and liberals across America are play acting that there is no Obama birth certificate issue because they are so desperate to prove to themselves they are free of racial predjudice.

Meanwhile, Komrade Inkompetent The Usurper dismantles the constitutional republic and steals the birthright of our children and generations of Americans yet to be born.

The Supreme Court is just another part of the corrupt, unethical federal political machine, governed by their own agenda and goals rather than the Constitution and their oath of office.


23 posted on 04/19/2009 5:56:28 AM PDT by Iron Munro (Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.)
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To: gitmo
A simple disparity in results in insufficient to prove bias in the nature of the test.

Unless you're dealing with the ACLU, the civil rights legal pimps and the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department.

24 posted on 04/19/2009 6:01:25 AM PDT by okie01 (THE MAItNSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: dennisw
This matter stands as yet another reason why I say that all politics in America is not local, but racial..........

Interesting, although it seems to apply to liberals and not conservatives.

25 posted on 04/19/2009 6:01:34 AM PDT by gitmo (History books will read that Lincoln freed the slaves and Obama enslaved the free.)
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To: The Great RJ

Yours is a very good point. Questions about race are always asked but can anybody actually define race?


26 posted on 04/19/2009 6:05:54 AM PDT by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: reaganaut1
how in the hell can questions related to firefighting be racially bias??? please.
27 posted on 04/19/2009 7:23:59 AM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - Obama is basically Jim Jones with a teleprompter)
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To: reaganaut1
The Supreme Court has an opportunity to reaffirm or reshape the nation's civil rights laws as it faces a rare confluence of cases over the next two weeks, including a high-profile challenge brought by white firefighters who claim they lost out on promotions because of the "color of their skin."

Small potato(e)s compared to the BC question. First things first!

28 posted on 04/19/2009 7:28:12 AM PDT by Don Corleone (Leave the gun..take the cannoli now reads "Oil the gun..eat the cannolis.")
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To: gitmo

The SC judges will decide based on their politics. The liberals are unprincipled and will fish for legal justification for the minority opinion or majority opinion. I’m hoping minority for this case

Affirmative action is so wacked that immigrants can get it! People who were never slaves and came here eagerly. Hindu immigrants have gotten small business loan preferences due to AA. Buy a motel I guess lol
A Haitian immigrant and his children get on the AA gravy train too


29 posted on 04/19/2009 7:42:23 AM PDT by dennisw (Your action becomes your habit. Your habit becomes your character, that becomes your destiny)
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To: reaganaut1
The city argues that the test it commissioned, in which 60 percent of the score came from a multiple-choice questionnaire and 40 percent from an interview, must have been biased, despite its best intentions. It is not specific about the problems with the test, though it says the exam did not measure "command presence" and should have given more weight to the interview.

Why is it than whenever these tests are challenged the alleged victims say that more weight should be given to the interview or other less-objective measures?

If the organization is so devious that they rigged a multiple choice test against you, what makes you think they are going to give you a fair chance on the interview? If the organization really is biased against you, consciously or subconsciously, then how is giving more weight to the *interview* going to help? If anything, that's an even easier way for them to weed out minorities since the evaluators can point to subjective, hard-to-verify reasons for excluding a minority applicant. On a multiple choice test you're facing the same questions as your peers and giving the same response MUST result in getting the same points.

Unless, of course, there really is no discrimination going on and some people just don't like the results of a fair test.

30 posted on 04/19/2009 12:39:45 PM PDT by timm22 (Think critically)
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