"It's not often that Supreme Court opinions go into such detail to criticize the way a city is run."

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Overlawyered.com proprietor and Reason Contributing Editor Walter Olson had a great New York Post op-ed earlier this week on the Supreme Court's decision in Ricci v. DeStefano:

MORAL of the day: If you're going to give white job applicants the shaft, don't be blatant about it. Moral No. 2: Don't annoy Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy….

Most of all, Kennedy went out of his way to document his evident disgust with the way New Haven leaders, from Mayor John DiStefano on down, handled the firefighter controversy.

The after-the-fact and pretextual rationalizations they devised, Kennedy wrote, were "blatantly contradicted by the record." And that was just the start of the unwelcome scrutiny of New Haven's town fathers….

It's not often that Supreme Court opinions go into such detail to criticize the way a city is run. Some high-profile figures in Connecticut's Elm City must be quite embarrassed right now–if they're capable of embarrassment.

Read the rest here. My article on the Ricci case here.

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  1. “It’s not often that Supreme Court opinions go into such detail to criticize the way a city is run.”

    A lot of times you’ll hear an argument against a policy that says, “there’s no way to police that policy, people will just get around it by doing x, y or z.” In this case, the city tried x, y and z and got called out for it.

  2. MORAL of the day: If you’re going to give white job applicants the shaft, don’t be blatant about it.

    Don’t ask don’t tell?

  3. If you’re going to give white job applicants the shaft, don’t be blatant about it.

    If you’re going to give black job applicants the shaft, keep it on the down-low…

  4. “Don’t ask don’t tell?”

    Wrong meaning of shaft, dude.

  5. if they’re capable of embarrassment

    If they’re not, expect this to catapult them to state or national positions.

    God, our system sucks.

  6. “But it’s another thing to throw out perfectly valid civil service test results simply because the city doesn’t like the outcome.”

    But is it a “perfectly valid civil service test”? And who is to be the judge of that, the city or the U.S. Supreme Court? Justice Kennedy appears upset because New Haven responded to political pressure. Since when is politics illegal? The New Republic has a nice article by Drew Westen here arguing the other way.

  7. Since when is politics illegal?

    When you discriminate against people based on race to achieve politically motivated outcomes.

  8. MORAL of the day: If you’re going to give white job applicants the shaft, don’t be blatant about it.

    They had to be blatant about it in order to pacify the black pastor who was going apeshit over the promotees being all white.

    But is it a “perfectly valid civil service test”? And who is to be the judge of that, the city or the U.S. Supreme Court?

    Under the Civil Rights Act, a federally approved independent test evaluator. Which New Haven submitted the test to before it was given to the prospective promotees.

  9. Oh, and Mr Vanneman, your link goes to a blank page.

  10. Wrong meaning of shaft, dude.

    Have I been misinterpreting that colorful metaphor this whole time?

  11. Have I been misinterpreting that colorful metaphor this whole time?

    Racist!

  12. But is it a “perfectly valid civil service test”? And who is to be the judge of that, the city or the U.S. Supreme Court?

    A perfect civil service test would be one where nobody would pass, and the government would not be able to hire anyone.

    Have I been misinterpreting that colorful metaphor this whole time?

    Racist!

    joe, is that you?

  13. Have you been to New Haven? The place is a fucking dump.

  14. Oh, by the way, NPR seems to really be upset with this ruling. They wouldn’t shut up about it for two days after it came down.

    But is it a “perfectly valid civil service test”?

    According to New Haven and a whole host of racially sensitive, multicultural test evaluators it was, right up until they didn’t get the results they wanted. So I think you’ve answered your own question.

    New Haven is now looking into scrapping the test altogether as some other cities have done. Which is all fair and good. But you can’t retroactively void a test, which the city themselves had vetted and implemented with the full knowledge of, well, pretty much everyone.

    If you don’t like the results, then scrap the test for the next round of applicants.

    Justice Kennedy appears upset because New Haven responded to political pressure. Since when is politics illegal?

    You’re kidding right? Politics in this situation is illegal if you commit an illegal act based on said pressure.

  15. Will this ruling affect New Haven pizza in any way?
    I saw on the TV that New Haven pizza is good.
    Many fat people were eating it and enjoying it. Immensely.

  16. Post op

    For some reason my eye focused on this juxtaposition.

  17. There is no such thing as a perfectly valid test, especially when testing people. The best hope is to accomplish the goals set forth by the test, but someone will always claim some sort of validity is question. The only acceptable goal for a test with regard to discrimination is a test that yields a completely even result along racial lines. How in the hell do you test for other qualities when one of the underlying goals to make sure an evenly distributed result along racial lines when there are a myriad of other variables involved that could break down along racial lines and not be evenly distributed, like who studied the most, what racial group went to bed early that night, what racial group practiced the oral questioning, who had to take their kid to the game and couldn’t study the day before the test?

    Maybe the whole you need X% subgroup in X number of slots to be valid bullshit is just that, bullshit.

    If every city responded to political pressure like this Al Sharpten would have every office and job in civil service held by a black man or woman regardless of qualification.

  18. NPR seems to really be upset with this ruling. They wouldn’t shut up about it for two days after it came down.

    Wow, what little MSM news I’ve seen/heard has been all Michael Jackson. So at least you’ve heard something different.

  19. I agree with Alan Vanneman. Washington should let the cities and states deal with local political pressures as they see fit.

  20. But is it a “perfectly valid civil service test”? And who is to be the judge of that, the city or the U.S. Supreme Court?

    The city of course. And they made that decision when they gave the tests.

    If they werent valid, they never would have used them to begin with.

    You decide validity IN ADVANCE, not based on results.

    Once they gave the test, the commited to a contract (whether or not it was just implied, Im not sure) with the test takers to use it as they said they would.

  21. Nathaniel,

    Were you named after Nathan or did you just forget your first name? 🙂

  22. Nathaniel is my given name.

    And my mother always called me Nathaniel.

  23. You decide validity IN ADVANCE, not based on results.

    I don’t know who this “you” you are talking to is, but we at Congress don’t even read things before we pass them, much less decide their validity. If the results work then good stuff, if they don’t, well that just gives us another opportunity to pander to lobbyists and special interests back home. It’s a win-win for the American people!

  24. I agree with Alan Vanneman. Washington should let the cities and states deal with local political pressures as they see fit.

    Leave it to Bull Conner and Lester Maddox?

  25. Lester Maddox (business owner, not governor) was a racist fuck. And right.

    It sucks when that happens.

  26. Wow, what little MSM news I’ve seen/heard has been all Michael Jackson. So at least you’ve heard something different.

    NPR does focus on substantive issues, I’ll give them that. I just find that I’ve ground my teeth down to the nubs by the time I’m home when listening to their take on said issues.

    tulpa:

    Oh, and Mr Vanneman, your link goes to a blank page.

    The blank page undoubtedly containing more substance and merit than the argument that was expected to be upon it.

  27. It was claimed that great care was taken to make sure the test was race-neutral. What I want to know is how and the fuck a test for firefighters for christ sake could ever have a negative impact on minorities? Unless the questions were along the lines of “What is the best course of action for putting out a blaze in a one room apartment shared by ten Hispanics”, how in the world could the thing have been racist?

  28. “I agree with Alan Vanneman. Washington should let the cities and states deal with local political pressures as they see fit.”

    Why is it that liberals always claim the “states rights” argument is inherently racist, unless it is actually used to discriminate against someone?

  29. Sigh. We really are the Mississippi of the North. Patheticut.

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