The Court ruled that the City of New Haven, Connecticut cannot exercise its prerogative in anticipating racial bias lawsuits.
The case had to do with a test that was taken by Black, White and Hispanic firefighters to qualify them for promotion. No Black test taker passed the test, but 20 White test takers did. Anticipating that use of this test to decide who gets a promotion would be seen as a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, resulting in subsequent litigation, the City of
In writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy put it this way:
“Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations ad qualified for promotions”
The City of New Haven, in being vigilant and with a sense of fair play, was simply covering itself. They were providing a safety valve to avoid an unpleasantness. Because, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote, racial bias has had a long historical relationship with fire departments.
So now, when this happens again, and it will, there must actually be a lawsuit filed alleging racial bias before cities can act.
This decision by these 5 conservative justices on the Supreme Court has virtually ensured an increase in race bias lawsuits from coast to coast.
Has ensured that municipalities will have to pay more in legal fees to defend themselves.
Has ensured that lawyers will file more lawsuits, maybe frivolous lawsuits, thus gumming up the court systems even more than they are already.
The only people that win in this are the 20 White firefighters.
And, oh yeah, lawyers.