ON-Lion Letter
In its late-June Ricci v. DeStafano opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court materially limited the use of hiring and promotion preferences by employers.  The case was brought by New Haven, Conn., firefighters challenging a decision by city officials to jettison a hiring test due to pressure from individuals and organizations advocating greater hiring of minorities in the fire department. 

"Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his opinion for the court, which four other Justices joined.  It reverses a previous, lower-court ruling that current Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed.

The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) in Washington, D.C., filed an amicus curiae, or "friend-of-the-court" brief in the case.  CIR filed the brief on behalf of itself, the Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), and the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI).  

"There can be no dispute that the defendants refused to hire (or promote) plaintiffs," according to the brief.  "The only question is whether, with all facts and inferences favoring the firefighters, that refusal was because of any individual’s race.  It was.

"Accordingly, the firefighters met their ... burden of showing that race was a 'motivating factor' for the decision not to hire them," it continues, "and that defendants engaged in intentional discrimination" that violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports CIR, CEO, and ACRI.
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