Monday, June 29, 2009

Ricci Part 2: Revenge of the Fallen

They'rrrrrrrrrrrrre baaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!

Well that didn't take too long. A few days ago all anybody could think about was the loss of Michael Jackson, and now here comes something completely unrelated yet still controversial enough to jolt people out of their mourning with a nice dose of racially charged tomfoolery.

Today, the United States Supreme Court (the Court we all know and love) decided the case that we discussed here about a month ago: Ricci v. DeStefano. You may remember it as the "White Firefighters case" from Connecticut where the New Haven Fire Department administered a promotion test which had a clearly observable disparate impact against Blacks and other minorities (none of them passed). The City of New Haven threw out the test, thereby taking no action to promote anybody, and decided to redesign a less racially biased exam. The White Firefighters who had passed, led by the named plaintiff, Frank Ricci, filed suit against the City claiming that it was racial discrimination to throw out the racially biased exam, even if it did have a disparate impact against Blacks. In other words, it was racial discrimination for the City to take race into consideration.

At trial, Ricci and the gang lost. They appealed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals where Sonia Sotomayor and the rest of the 2nd Circuit heard the case. Ricci and the gang lost again. Then they appealed to the Supreme Court and today, they finally won the day. So tell 'em what they've won, Don Pardo:

Well Bob, today's contestants have won the right to royally confuse the hell out of all future courts and employers from this day forward as they try to figure out just exactly what is the point of having Civil Rights Laws in the workplace if you can now no longer use them!! Congratulations!!!

But Wait! That's not all!!! Today's contestants have also won 2,000 additional hours of question time at Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing as she tries to explain to congress how and why her court got overruled today.

And last but certainly not least, today's contestants have finally finally finally brought the Supreme Court one more landmark step closer to sending that wacky affirmative action idea to the grave where it belongs. You guys are awesome!!! Thanks for playing on Revenge of the Fallen!

I kid to keep from crying but, with regard to the last part, ladies and gentlemen, I do hope you all realize that even though this was not an affirmative action case, the time of affirmative action is now at a close. Stated differently, it's a rap, people. I hope we opened the door for enough people of color in higher education and in the work force because today's ruling represents the perfect alley-oop pass that sets up, quite beautifully, the slam dunk of affirmative action's death. I submit Exhibit A, today's CNN report on the aforementioned case, which provides in pertinent part:

"The Supreme Court was being asked to decide whether there was a continued need for special treatment for minorities, or whether enough progress has been made to make existing laws obsolete, especially in a political atmosphere in which an African-American occupies the White House."

200 years and 44 Presidents later, this country has, in 2008, elected its first and only Black President. Does that mean that enough progress has been made??? In other words, is Affirmative Action's time over??? And lastly, does today's ruling hurt Sotomayor's chances of being confirmed by the Senate???
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