White Firefighters' Bias Claims Head to High Court
Conn. team complained after promotion test dumped
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 10, 2009 10:12 AM CDT
The Supreme Court will hear a racial-discrimination case on April 22 brought by New Haven firefighters.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Hoping to become lieutenants, 77 New Haven firefighters took a promotion test—but when none of the 19 black firefighters qualified, the city jettisoned the results. Their hopes dashed, 17 white firefighters sued the city for racial discrimination, and the case is now set for the Supreme Court. It marks the first time in decades the court will scrutinize race in the public job market, the New York Times reports.

Chief Justice John Roberts has previously slammed any “divvying us up by race,” and his court ruled that public universities couldn’t specifically consider race in admissions. Now the court will review whether similar rules should be applied in the workplace. “Disappointment doesn’t lead to a discrimination claim,” said a city lawyer. But dissenting federal appeals justices said the test was “carefully constructed to ensure race-neutrality.”