Why should this matter, you say?
Well for TWO very important reasons: 1) Frank Ricci is a New Haven, CT firefighter and 2) One of the justices (Sonia Sotomayer) who denied his appeal has just been nominated by President Obama to replace the retiring David Souter.
We have had many discussions on promotions criteria, leadership, qualities of officers and recognizing who’s best for the job. Many feel that it should be based solely on the most qualified as determined by testing. Many have dismissed diversity initiatives as unnecessary in today’s liberal society. Still, others believe that we are not quite there yet and hiring based on ethnic quotas to achieve equality is still necessary.
Please note that while this lawsuit has been going on, the officer positions have been left open and are currently being filled by “acting” officers; some who FAILED the promotions exam!
I find it easy to say that everyone should be treated the same and that’s because I am not prejudice or bigoted in my thoughts. In my mind, race/color/religion should never factor into the equation. But, because of our country’s history, fail safes had to be put into place, even at the expense of other race/color/religions. And to me, THAT is discrimination. If we have to discriminate against one group to eliminate discrimination in another group, then we haven’t stopped it; we have perpetuated it. And that is wrong on many levels.
In the case of Frank Ricci and 20 other New Haven firefighters; they took a promotional exam in 2003 for (7) Captain positions and (8) Lieutenant positions. Based on the results of the testing, no African-Americans would have been promoted, so the Civil Service Board threw out the tests, because they feared a lawsuit by the African-Americans and Hispanics.
It’s interesting to note that the top (15) scores for the Captain’s exam were achieved by (13) whites and (2) Hispanics and the top (15) scores for the Lieutenant’s exam were achieved by (13) whites and (2) African-Americans.
So, Frank Ricci filed a lawsuit, based on the idea that he was not promoted because of his race.
The decision by the Supreme Court should come by the end of June.
The decision should have a precedent-setting impact on the use of racial quotas for filling positions; then using it for promotions.
And as I said; testing should determine the best candidates; period.