Sotomayor and the New Haven Firefighters

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I'll leave the analysis of the Sonia Sotomayor pick to those who are more familiar with her record (though I suspect we will all become very familiar with her record in the coming weeks), but I will say that her decision in the Ricci v. DeStefano case, which is currently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, hardly inspires confidence. Writing in the Washington Post, George Will provides a one paragraph précis of the case:

In 2003, the city [of New Haven, Connecticut] gave promotion exams–prepared by a firm specializing in employment tests, and approved, as federal law requires, by independent experts–to 118 candidates, 27 of them black. None of the blacks did well enough to qualify for the 15 immediately available promotions. After a rabble-rousing minister with close ties to the mayor disrupted meetings and warned of dire political consequences if the city promoted persons from the list generated by the exams, the city said: No one will be promoted.

Sotomayor ruled against the firefighters, a decision that her colleague and fellow Clinton appointee Judge Jose Cabranes, writes The New Republic's Jeffery Rosen, denounced as containing "no reference whatsoever to the constitutional issues at the core of this case."

Reason's resident SCOTUS-watcher, Damon W. Root, weighed in on the Ricci case last month, suggesting the Justice Kennedy's swing vote might very well swing in favor of the plantiffs.

So what's the Supreme Court likely to say here? During last week's oral arguments, the Court divided neatly between left and right, with the four liberals seemingly sympathetic to the city and the four conservatives siding with Ricci. Which once again leaves Justice Anthony Kennedy as the likely swing vote. As an indication of Kennedy's thinking, consider the following exchange with Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler, who had just claimed that New Haven did not sort the test results by race. "Counsel, it looked at the results, and it classified the successful and unsuccessful applicants by race…and you want us to say this isn't race? I have trouble with this argument." Given that Kennedy's previous jurisprudence has been fairly libertarian on the subject of race-based classifications, this was a telling moment, suggesting that Kennedy is open to the plaintiffs' charges of reverse discrimination.

Which he should be. It's one thing for the government to forbid hiring practices (including those crafted to appear race-neutral) that intentionally discriminate. That's at least fully consistent with Title VII. But it's another thing to throw out perfectly valid civil service test results simply because the city doesn't like the outcome. There's nothing fair about that.

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  1. Not to defend the city here, but just imagine what would have happened had they proceeded with the results of the test. They were going to wind up in Court under Title VII no matter what they did.

    Of course, the obvious answer of “help blacks and Latinos do better on the exam next year” doesn’t seem to strike anybody as a reasonable third-way. Someone’s gotta sue.

  2. I agree with TAO. Honestly, I’m glad this is at the SCOTUS. Hopefully, a decision towards the plaintiff will help show people that racism can exist in forms not usually thought of.

    Or course if then we’ll hear about how the SCOTUS is racist or some such bullshit.

  3. “Of course, the obvious answer of “help blacks and Latinos do better on the exam next year” doesn’t seem to strike anybody as a reasonable third-way. Someone’s gotta sue.”

    TAO,

    Are you suggesting that there should be some type of specific help for minorities during the next round of tests? I’m not sure I’m following you correctly and want to make sure before I respond.

  4. Of course, the obvious answer of “help blacks and Latinos do better on the exam next year” doesn’t seem to strike anybody as a reasonable third-way.

    According to an NPR story I listened to a few weeks back, representatives of the blacks and Hispanics (only one Hispanic made it to the final 15) claimed that the tests were racist, because they relied heavily on multiple choice questions, which are traditionally a weak area for minorities. The representatives demanded a new test where oral answers and props like toy cars and models of buildings are used instead of written questions.

  5. Gawd, are we not a serious nation any longer?
    Why are we so concerned about a judge voting to uphold racial preferences when there is a member of SCOTUS who might once have mentioned a pubic hair on a Coke can? People need to be banished from public life for, say, pinching someone’s behind on a elevator. There is no call to attack and disparage those who want to put the white oppressor in his/her place.

    [said in sarcastic voice]

  6. Not to defend the city here, but just imagine what would have happened had they proceeded with the results of the test. They were going to wind up in Court under Title VII no matter what they did.

    So, you either go to court for proceeding with a perfectly legal and defensible test, or you go to court for pandering to racial pressure groups.

    Personally, I’d recommend the former.

  7. The representatives demanded a new test where oral answers and props like toy cars and models of buildings are used instead of written questions.

    Please tell me you are kidding.

    In case you aren’t: Does anyone want a firefighter who has to use the picture menu?

  8. Sugerfree,

    I doubt he is kidding. And I have no idea what to say to that. It is just astounding.

  9. This is a case of one ‘mayor helping out another mayor. The city is the employer of these firefighters. Nobody has a constitutional right to a promotion. The results of a civil service test do not appear to take precedence over the executive privilege of a municipal government (though I have not RTFC).

    Jozef, I’m not sure props like toy cars and models of buildings are necessarily any worse than written questions. In fact, shouldn’t the field test be the test that matters? Their job is to fight fires, not to fill in circles with a Number 2 pencil.

    Not defending or attacking anybody. Just saying I don’t see a clear libertarian angle one way or the other. When the government is employing people, the only libertarian answer is to eliminate the job itself, and I don’t see any parties to this case considering that option.

  10. The answer is to let all the bullshit happen, and have totally incompetent people in these jobs. Then, when fire destroys half of the city, maybe people will wake up and demand some accountability.

    Then again, this is New Haven. Yale is all stone, so…only Yale would be left from a fire. This is a chilling thought.

  11. “Not to defend the city here, but just imagine what would have happened had they proceeded with the results of the test”

    Why not paint us a picture.

  12. No kidding, SugarFree. Listen to the story yourself.

    Tim: I’m not passing a judgment one way or another. I just know I do much better with essay answers, and really suck at anything that doesn’t require a pen, paper and calculator. However, I’ve never considered that test design is a racial issue.

  13. I’m pretty sure Sotomayor is what Darkman looks like under the bandages.

  14. No kidding, SugarFree.

    So this is what it sounds like when doves cry.

  15. NutraSweet is listening to Prince right now.

  16. “The city is the employer of these firefighters. Nobody has a constitutional right to a promotion. The results of a civil service test do not appear to take precedence over the executive privilege of a municipal government (though I have not RTFC).”

    You completely miss the point Cavanaugh. The point is not what kinds of tests a city can give. The point is that once they settle on a test, they shouldn’t be able to throw the results out because the wrong color of people passsed it. If equal protection doesn’t mean, setting up a common set of rules upfront and living by them, what the hell does it mean? Come on Tim.

  17. When the elevator tries to bring you down, Episiarch… go crazy.

  18. Me too, Jozef. When they invent a new method of firefighting that is done by pushing kids on a swing, writing multiple drafts of documents, at least one of which requires use of a manual typewriter, making obscure allusions, painfully humilitating periods of writer’s block, and drinking, I’ll be a regular Red Adair.

  19. Kyle Jordan – no, I wasn’t talking about extra help from the city. I was saying is that New Haven’s version of Al Sharpton up there could have put the Lord’s Money and Time here his mouth is and helped the minorities pass the test next year.

    Why not paint us a picture.

    Sure. The city swears in a racially homogeneous (all white) group of firefighters and the blacks shut out of the process sue under Title VII for a disparate impact claim and, voila, here we are all over again, because one of the claims will certainly be that the exam is not rationally related to the actual job.

  20. “Kyle Jordan – no, I wasn’t talking about extra help from the city. I was saying is that New Haven’s version of Al Sharpton up there could have put the Lord’s Money and Time here his mouth is and helped the minorities pass the test next year.”

    Yes. The race hustlers would have sued the city had they let the results stand. But I don’t see how allowed the city to screw the people who passed the test to avoid litigation is much of a sollution. Wouldn’t it be better to not screw the people who passed the test and then make the law better so that the race hustlers can’t sue the city?

  21. The point is that once they settle on a test, they shouldn’t be able to throw the results out because the wrong color of people passsed it. If equal protection doesn’t mean, setting up a common set of rules upfront and living by them, what the hell does it mean?

    John, what if the test was all about say, Seinfeld, Michael Buble and mayonnaise? You cannot expect black people to pass a test like that.

  22. “Sure. The city swears in a racially homogeneous (all white) group of firefighters and the blacks shut out of the process sue under Title VII for a disparate impact claim and, voila, here we are all over again, because one of the claims will certainly be that the exam is not rationally related to the actual job.”

    So irrespective of the actual job requirements, blacks and Hispanics do poorly on written tests. Why is that so?

  23. Up until the lat three comments I was impressed with the discussion, and then the bigots came out. Save that crap for the locker room, boys.

    Tests have classically been monitored for cultural bias; it’s not an invalid claim to make. On the other hand, I really don’t want a firefighter saving my home who has to look at a picture of a hydrant to make sure that’s really what gets connected to the hose.

    Sotomeyer has the advantage of NOT being white and male- this will definitely give her some life experience outside the dead white guy canon. Just remember, trolls: she was nominated to the Federal bench by GHW Bush!

  24. But it’s another thing to throw out perfectly valid civil service test results simply because the city doesn’t like the outcome. There’s nothing fair about that.

    I disagree. I don’t want to live in a country where elected politicians can’t cave in to the demands of radical activists. It’s even more important for local governments to respond to the hare-brained ideas of their constituents or they’d never respond to the rational ideas of their constituents.

    While I don’t agree with racial preferences, I do agree that an employer, even a local government employer, can change employment practices in the middle of the process.

  25. “The point is not what kinds of tests a city can give. The point is that once they settle on a test, they shouldn’t be able to throw the results out because the wrong color of people passsed it.”

    Why shouldn’t they? They’re the paymasters. If Microsoft decides it wants to recruit more women this year or Smith decides to admit males, what business is that of the government? You could make the case that a mayor should not have as much administrative leeway as a private executive, but I don’t see anybody making that case.

    But again, haven’t read the case. And wouldn’t believe The New Republic if it said the sky was blue.

  26. Just because groups don’t do well on the test does NOT mean the test is not fair. There are statistical tests that can be done to find this out. What is typically the ROOT of the groups not doing well are not the test, but us, SOCIETY. It ususally points to how the lower SES groups don’t get equal access, education and nutrition. Also there was NO mention as to a specific nature of the questions that were discriminating against certain groups. I would like to know EXACTLY what made them claim it was not fair. Example would be specific questions that are not measuring what they claim to measure or the test doesn’t link to the job they are doing…etc. As far as discrimating against certain groups and example here would be
    … was it timed ? People who have learned in another language and english is a second language ARE disadvantaged in this situation…there needs to be more information given, otherwise we cannot make an informed decision on if Sotomayor did her job.

  27. “John, what if the test was all about say, Seinfeld, Michael Buble and mayonnaise? You cannot expect black people to pass a test like that.”

    Are you saying that blacks and Hispanics have a separate knowledge bank distinct from white people? Why is that so?

  28. So New Haven burning down is a bad thing?!

  29. I agree with TAO that the city was in a tough spot here. Perhaps giving no promotions was seen as a compromise between using the test and basing promotions on some other criteria. If you piss off everybody, you can persuade yourself that you’re being fair.

    Regarding the test and the proposal to use scale models: I didn’t see it, so I can’t pass judgment on it, but it is not a priori ludicrous to ask test takers to explain a course of action with a scale model. Fire fighting is a physical situation that involves actual people moving around with equipment in buildings and maneuvering under constraints like the distance from a vehicle. My guess is that when fire fighters are doing training exercises they probably use a lot of diagrams and models to illustrate what to do in a situation, rather than just using text. If somebody can clearly illustrate the best way to approach something in the field, but the text of the multiple choice answers was poorly worded, I’ll go with the actual illustration of the course of action.

    We physicists actually use 3D ping-pong ball models a lot to illustrate bonding in crystals. If somebody couldn’t answer a poorly worded multiple choice question, but he could use a 3D model of a crystal to explain a situation with bonding, and sketch out diagrams with the correct angles and all that, I’d be happy with that person’s performance. However, those who wanted to could easily mock it by saying “Instead of having students answer questions they’re drawing pictures and playing with ping pong balls.”

  30. “Why shouldn’t they? They’re the paymasters. If Microsoft decides it wants to recruit more women this year or Smith decides to admit males, what business is that of the government? You could make the case that a mayor should not have as much administrative leeway as a private executive, but I don’t see anybody making that case.”

    If we didn’t have any laws regarding race descrimination, you might have a point Tim. But the fact is we do. And those laws say you can’t discriminate on the basis of race. They don’t say you can discriminate as long as it works against white people.

    If you really believe that, fine. Just get rid of the test and put up a “no whites need apply” sign and call it a day. But, no bitching when the county next door puts up a white only sign.

  31. “Just remember, trolls: she was nominated to the Federal bench by GHW Bush!”

    During his remarks this morning, President Obama pointed out that Sotomayor was appointed as a district court judge in 1992 by Republican George H. W. Bush. But a friend on Capitol Hill notes this bipartisan talking-point is empty. The following 1992 New York Law Journal article explains that Sotomayor was nominated as part of a compromise in which Democratic Senator Moynihan was allowed to recommend judges for two of the seven vacancies:

    “The nominations of Andrew O’Rourke, Westchester County Executive, and Sonia Sotomayor, of Pavia & Harcourt, to the Southern District bench are awaiting hearings by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

    The normal time period taken from the time a nomination reaches the committee for investigation, hearing and committee vote is two months, with action by the full Senate ordinarily following within a few days. Current nominations, however, have been held up since October by a dispute between the White House and the Senate Committee over the committee’s right to access to FBI reports on candidates. A compromise reached last month should get the process moving again.

    The seven Southern District vacancies have existed for periods of from 7 to 39 months. Senator Alfonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., has recommended persons to fill five of the vacancies, and, under an agreement between the Senators, Senator Daniel Moynihan, D-N.Y., two.

    Senator D’Amato’s recommendations are Mr. O’Rourke; Richard C. Casey, a corporate partner at Brown & Wood, who has been blind for five years; Colleen McMahon, a litigation partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Manuel Quintana, general counsel of the City Housing Authority; Loretta A. Preska, a litigation partner at Hertzog, Calamari & Gleason; Paul Shechtman, counsel to Manhattan District Attorney Robert A. Morgenthau; and Acting State Supreme Court Justice Patricia Williams.

    Senator Moynihan has recommended Ms. Sotomayor and Deborah A. Batts, associate professor at the Fordham University School of Law.”

    BTW, I am not a troll. I am someone who opposes racial preference and supports the universal use of the word “nigger” solely on Libertarian grounds.

  32. “We physicists actually use 3D ping-pong ball models a lot to illustrate bonding in crystals. If somebody couldn’t answer a poorly worded multiple choice question, but he could use a 3D model of a crystal to explain a situation with bonding, and sketch out diagrams with the correct angles and all that, I’d be happy with that person’s performance. However, those who wanted to could easily mock it by saying “Instead of having students answer questions they’re drawing pictures and playing with ping pong balls.”

    That would be a relevent point if someone had said “hey this test is not relevent” from the get go. But that is not what happened. People only complained about the test after the wrong color of people passed it. Had 7 blacks, 7 hispanics and a couple of white people passe the test, no one would have had a problem with it. It is only being objected to because the wrong color of people passed it.

  33. “It is only being objected to because the wrong color of people passed it.”

    That is the fault of the city. They should have known at the outset that blacks and Hispanics are inferior test takers. It is common knowledge. They would be wise to include this in an ammended city charter.

  34. It should also be noted that this test was approved as both technically relevent and “racially neutral” by the EEO if I am not mistaken.

  35. “Just remember, trolls: she was nominated to the Federal bench by GHW Bush!”

    Another reason to dislike her.

  36. “It should also be noted that this test was approved as both technically relevent and “racially neutral” by the EEO if I am not mistaken.”

    You are correct? But one has to wonder about the ability of EEO to make that determination. They are IIRC, disproportunately staffed with minorities.

  37. As a white guy, how could I honestly support an individual who engages in reverse discrimination? What do I tell my 4 year old son if he wants to become a firefighter? Should he realize a Supreme Court Justice feels its acceptable to discriminate against white men? Should I tell him he has to pay the price for centuries of oppression at the hands of his gender and race? This is an outrage! Apparently our BLACK president doesn’t give a rats ass about these firemen and their individual rights. What would Obama tell the families of these civil servants?

  38. correct. (not – correct?)

  39. “What would Obama tell the families of these civil servants?”

    “I won.”

  40. If we didn’t have any laws regarding race descrimination, you might have a point Tim. But the fact is we do. And those laws say you can’t discriminate on the basis of race. They don’t say you can discriminate as long as it works against white people.

    I don’t see any race-based discrimination here, John. Everyone was denied promotion, not just white folks.

    As was said, no one is entitled to a promotion.

  41. Non-whites also seem to be less knowledgeable regarding the cartoon, “Calvin and Hobbes.” Discuss.

  42. “I don’t see any race-based discrimination here, John. Everyone was denied promotion, not just white folks.”

    Bullshit. They set up a test and promised promotion based upon the results. When they didn’t like the results, they threw out the test. Since they will eventually have to promote someone, the city will presumably keep giving the test until the right color people pass it. That is racial discrimination. Imagine if the races were reversed. Imagine some sheriff in Georgia saying that he was going to keep giving different tests untill he found one that so many damned niggers wouldn’t pass. You don’t think that would be discrimination?

  43. So, big surprise, Civil Discourse, who swore he could use the word “nigger” in the way Chris Rock used it, is actually a racist.

    Color me shocked…shocked, I say!

  44. Thought: would a case exist if no white people passed the test?

    I consider cases like these to be growing pains of our nation’s constantly evolving race issues. Less than a century ago minorities would have trouble even gaining admission to the test and would have a good chance of failing even with a perfect score.

    One way or another, I pray people get sick of identity politics and tell race/gender/sex orientation baiting groups to kindly pound sand.

  45. Here’s the problem, John: are you saying that it is illegitimate for a municipality to revise its promotion criteria, even if it has a rational belief that the criteria it is using are disproportionately disadvantageous to minority groups?

    I do think that, in this case, you have a good case for intentional discrimination against the current firefighters (provided the allegations as to why the test was changed are true), as you would in your example. But from a neutral perspective, your broadbrush principle of “changing the rules in the middle of the game is inherently unfair” doesn’t work.

  46. “So, big surprise, Civil Discourse, who swore he could use the word “nigger” in the way Chris Rock used it, is actually a racist. ”

    Huh?

  47. ahh, John beat me to it. The nation, as a whole, seems as if it is becoming less racist. However, in localities you find plenty of institutional racism one way or another. It’s not hard to find examples, after all, we have the internet.

  48. “But from a neutral perspective, your broadbrush principle of “changing the rules in the middle of the game is inherently unfair” doesn’t work.”

    You are playing the same shell game Cavanaugh is playing. Why are they changing the rules? If it were because they discovered a real flaw in the test, then I wouldn’t object. But again, that is not what is happening here. They only changed it because too many white people passed it. That is a fucked up reason to throw out the test. From a neutral prospective, it is immoral and wrong to judge people and results based on race.

  49. I don’t see any race-based discrimination here, John. Everyone was denied promotion, not just white folks.

    Only white people who passed the test were eligible for promotion. Therefore, only white people were denied promotion. Further, the reason they were denied promotion was because they were all white. This isn’t even “disparate impact” weak racism, this is out-and-out your-the-wrong-color intentional racism.

    Seriously, the people defending this make me laugh. Are you seriously claiming that if Biloxi, Mississippi had denied promotions to a bunch of black guys because no whites passed the test, that would be just hunky-dory, nothing to see here, move along?

  50. “Are you seriously claiming that if Biloxi, Mississippi had denied promotions to a bunch of black guys because no whites passed the test, that would be just hunky-dory, nothing to see here, move along?”

    That is what they are claiming. Of course since that kind of overt discrimination is very rare today, they get to make that claim with little danger of having to actually back it up by having to defend such a loathsome action.

  51. “”So, big surprise, Civil Discourse, who swore he could use the word “nigger” in the way Chris Rock used it, is actually a racist. ”

    Huh?”

    Absent a reply, I suspect you find my comment:

    “But one has to wonder about the ability of EEO to make that determination. They are IIRC, disproportionately staffed with minorities.”

    The point is that if, as many claim, that minorities do poorly on tests when compared to whites, then why would the EEO approve the test? What was their reason for certifying the test as “racially neutral” if the test was not “racially neutral”? Do you think it might be due to internalized racism on the part of the EEO? Or maybe they just like to set up minorities to fail in order to justify the EEO’s existence? Do tell!

  52. “That is what they are claiming. Of course since that kind of overt discrimination is very rare today, they get to make that claim with little danger of having to actually back it up by having to defend such a loathsome action.”

    So, big surprise, TAO is actually a racist. “

  53. “John, what if the test was all about say, Seinfeld, Michael Buble and mayonnaise? You cannot expect black people to pass a test like that.”

    I’m white and I don’t think I could pass this test.

  54. Sotomayor @ Princeton: “Uniform Treatment of All Candidates”
    After launching a public campaign to force Princeton University to hire faculty and administrators of “Puerto Rican or Chicano heritage,” Sotomayor finally got her way. But she wasn’t finished complaining. Despite being appointed to a student advisory board that would counsel the University on the hiring of a “minority dean,” Sotomayor was ultimately unsatisfied by the appointment of Luis Garcia as Associate Dean of Student Affairs in September 1974. Sotomayor had a litany of complaints ranging from the manner in which the advisory board was selected to the manner in which the candidate was selected.

    The Daily Princetonian bullet-pointed the complaints:

    candidates for the “minority” position seem to be subjected to closer scrutiny than those for comparable positions.
    some of the candidates seemed to receive preferential treatment during the selection process.
    no Asian or American Indian candidates were recruited or considered.
    the members of the advisory committee were chosen by [Dean] Simmons herself rather than by the minority organizations they seemed to represent.
    The same day, Sotomayor wrote another op-ed in the student paper explaining her frustration:

    In an effort to broaden and legitimize the decision making procedure, Dean Simmons asked us as members of the various ethnic and racial minorities to participate. We were given resumes of each of the major candidates considered; we interviewed them; and we were asked to summarize our feelings as to their qualifications. As this procedure continued we grew more and more disillusioned–not with regard to the caliber of the candidates, but with the process in general. Finally, when asked to make our recommendations, we issued instead a list of our grievances and asked that a decision be deferred until they were answered satisfactorily.

    Ironically, the piece closes with this:

    And finally, concerning the appointment process, the procedure established should insure uniform treatment of all candidates. A candidate’s background or the position he or she seeks to fill should be no reason for preferential treatment on the part of the university.

    Does anyone dispute that Sotomayor has been the recipient of preferential treatment for most of her life? She played a role in the hiring of a dean at Princeton — how many alums got that kind of treatment while they were undergraduates? According to the president, Sotomayor’s background is now the very reason why she has been nominated to the Supreme Court. And Sotomayor ruled against uniform treatment of all candidates in the Ricci case, which is sure to be a focus of her confirmation hearings. So now that Sotomayor is the candidate, does she want to be treated like everyone else, or does she want special treatment?

  55. Sadly, since the Republicans have no balls, they will no doubt roll over and play dead for a polically correct female. But, they really ought to go after her on Ricci. They ought to use the nomination to have a real frank discussion about affirmative action. Lets see this woman get up on national TV and defend this decision. Let her explain why a test is flawed just because white people happen to pass it.

  56. Sotomayor’s 2001 speech to La Raza:

    “Our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

    Full text here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/us/politics/15judge.text.html?_r=1

  57. Banjo Bob, I have no particular opinion on Sotomayor one way or the other, but as somebody who works in academia I am less than surprised to hear that a student involved in campus activism and student government was hard to please. I was somewhat involved in campus matters as a student, I was hard to please on certain things, but my views on many of those things are now quite different from what they were back then.

    Campus activities are a very poor predictor of somebody’s current views and attitudes.

  58. She wasn’t a campus activist when she spoke to La Raza in 2001. I suspect she was a judge.

  59. “Campus activities are a very poor predictor of somebody’s current views and attitudes.”

    What exactly did you do in college that you feel so guilty about Thoreau?

  60. I wasn’t all that active, and I don’t think any of my actions were wrong, but I do think I was too negative on various things. If I could go back in time I’d tone down the negativity.

    What were the odds that a 21 year-old science nerd might be tightly wound?

  61. Was the whole promotion process based upon how well a firefighter did on a written test? No physical fitness or response under duress component? That is as bad as programming language certificates. They measure who is off to a good start but are ultimately useless.
    BTW, I could probably pass the Seinfeld test (certifiably white) but Golly, who the Heck is Michael Buble? Is he posting here as TAO?
    🙂 Jokes only.

  62. He was Mike Bubble until he had one of the new McD’s coffee thingys.

  63. “Is he posting here as TAO?”

    TAO quit posting. At least on this thread. There’s a lot of joe in that fellow.

  64. thoreau,

    Why DO you have NO OPINION of Sonia Sotomayor? Too BUSY in your academic WONDERLAND? Do you drive through Pico-Union everyday? DIDN’T think so.

  65. I have a question. Was this a test were you needed to score above a certain point to be CONSIDERED for a promotion or were the promotions to be given to the top 15 scores?

  66. Campus activities are a very poor predictor of somebody’s current views and attitudes.

    Of course, her current views and attitudes seem quite consistent with her tribal politicking as an undergrad.

  67. RC,

    Her current views and attitudes seem to be an excellent basis on which to evaluate her.

    Immigration “Realist”,

    I don’t know what immigrants in Pico-Union have to do with an East Coast judge of Puerto Rican (i.e. United States) descent.

  68. I thought affirmative action was just the politically correct way to be racist. I do believe that a serious discussion of affirmative action is a vanishing speck of a possibility. Sins of the fathers (but not my father) and all that.

  69. She seems like a dumb bitch. I guess one paragraph is an accomplishment for her.

  70. RC,

    Her current views and attitudes seem to be an excellent basis on which to evaluate her.

    How far back can we go before they are no longer “current”, t?

  71. Once they’re out of school and actually responsible for something is my baseline, RC.

  72. Oh, in the case of people with Ph.D.’s, once they’re past the formal coursework and exams just doing research (which is, believe me, a ton of responsibility) that’s also fair game. This would generally correspond to more or less the same age at which law students and med students graduate and are now starting jobs or (in the case of medical doctors) working insane hours and actually responsible for whether people live or die.

    Before that, they’re just in the cocoon.

  73. This is total reverse discrimination. And we wonder why are inner city schools suck?

    Rather than encourage people to do better academically, these city officials punish the people who worked hard and got high scores.

    If all the white guys didn’t pass and all the black guys passed, you certainly wouldn’t see them throw the test out. It would be all over the papers touting how smart they are.

  74. They were going to wind up in Court under Title VII no matter what they did.

    Sure, but if they’d promoted the men who qualified, they’d have had justice on their side.

    -jcr

  75. This whole notion of reverse discrimination is extremely ludicrous and fantastical. All of the “founding” fathers and history’s most powerful and influential people have been white males. There is an obvious need for fairness, equality, and diversity that even the Federal government has recognized. The U.S. Supreme Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law. Furthermore, the power of judicial review has given it crucial responsibility in assuring individual rights to those who have been denied it. Some decisions may seem unfair to white males, but they are judically fair and aid in the progressive development of humankind.

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