Racialism Reaches the Supreme Court

And “post-racial” America continues to live up to its billing:

A divided Supreme Court took up its first examination of race in the Obama era yesterday, wrestling with claims of job discrimination by white firefighters in a case that could force changes in employment practices nationwide.
The New Haven case pits white firefighters, who showed up at the court yesterday in their dress uniforms, against the city over its decision 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.

At issue is whether adjusting criteria in order to ensure equal outcome (read: “biased methods”) isn’t the maximum of what public bodies can do in the name of race consciousness. Depending which way Justice Anthony Kennedy swings, they may be able to experiment on the fly — setting up rules and them changing them after the fact when they don’t like the results.

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13 years ago

If “testing” is supposed to be an “objective means” of judging someone’s qualifications for a position, and then certain people — in this case, who happen to be white — are told that despite doing better on the test, that they’re being passed over for the “greater good,” doesn’t that logically dictate that they should do away with testing altogether, since they are going to disregard the results?
PS This reminds me a little of the Cranston firefighter issue.

13 years ago

“…setting up rules and them changing them after the fact when they don’t like the results.”
But isn’t this what the Supreme Court has been doing almost from its inception. Think about the Dred Scott case or Plessy vs Fergusn as a couple of famous examples of what I will call ‘iterative justice”. Times change, the make up of the Court changes, its philosophy changes.
What seems to be immutable is the intransigence of both Right and what passes for Left.

13 years ago

How do the examples you stated refer to this case? In the Dred Scott decision, the context at the time was that slaves were ‘property’ and therefore did not have the same rights accorded to free human beings. At the time, they were property. In the Plessy case, the constitutionality of integrated schools was upheld. As in Roe v Wade, the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling is commonly known as an incorrect ruling based on constitutional law – which is what the job of the Supreme Court is to interpret. The legislature makes laws. The courts do not judge whether they are good or bad, but whether they defy the Constitution.
It is you who is defending the ‘ends-justifying-the-means’ version of constitutional law. Of course except in cases where the end does not fit your specific agenda in which the case the means is relevant. Simply put for you, if it is constitutional to adjust specific employment criteria for a desired result, then it creates the question of which desired results are ‘constitutional’.
Just another example of your own intransigence.

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