HomeBloggingFinally Some Justice – Reverse Discrimination Takes a Hit (Ricci v. DeStefano)

Finally Some Justice – Reverse Discrimination Takes a Hit (Ricci v. DeStefano)

Despite writing a personal finance blog, I enjoy chatting up politics and I think I have been very open about my political views, which are basically libertarian in nature.  I generally believe the government is a necessary evil and as such I want to keep it as small as possible.  The way I look at it I don’t want the government involved in my business affairs as much as I do not want them inhibiting what I (and the founding fathers) consider inalienable rights (by the way I just wrote that Retirement is not an inalienable right).

I dislike the idea of affirmative action in this Country in the year 2009, and truly believe how it is used today is not what Congress and the Supreme Court envisioned those many years ago.

Imagine sitting in a Constitution Law II class with half the room being women, a good portion of them Black, and a liberal liberal Professor – and you are a white Christian Male and you raise your hand to talk about reverse discrimination of white males.  It was a scary time for My Journey…but I didn’t care and neither should you.  Well today I got some reprieve!

New Haven 20

Ricci v. DeStefano – The New Haven 20

Today the United States Supreme Court gave their Opinion (read: Decision) in the case of Ricci v. DeStefano.  The Case surrounds a group fondly known as the New Haven 20, a group of 20 Firefighters who studied their a** off and did well enough on a test to get promoted, but the City of New Haven decided to throw out the exam because no African Americans did well enough on it.  Yeah read that over again, seems almost unreal.

The Wall Street Journal wrote today,

Writing for a 5-4 majority in Ricci v. deStefano, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the city of New Haven violated civil-rights law when it threw out firefighter promotional exams because more whites than blacks or Hispanics had passed the tests. New Haven claimed it had to junk the tests because certifying the results would lead to an avalanche of lawsuits by black candidates who hadn’t passed. In other words, the city claimed it had to intentionally discriminate against white candidates out of fear that the tests unintentionally had a “disparate impact” against minorities.

But the Court found no evidence that the tests were flawed or that better alternatives for promotion existed. On the contrary, employment tests are an important tool against the very kind of racial discrimination that civil-rights laws were designed to prevent. “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 Kennedy wrote. The Supremes created this “disparate impact” reverse discrimination incentive with its 1971 Griggs decision, since codified into law, but at least five Justices are still able to object to this kind of blatant racial injustice.

As a brother of a Firefighter (also white Christian Male) I have watched my brother study is butt off for the lieutenants’ test for the FDNY.  My Brother has put as much work as I did for the New York State Bar Exam, and if my test was thrown out because some people, albeit minorities, did worse than me, I know I may be a ‘tad upset.’  Meanwhile, all this studying occurs while holding a full time job which includes running into burning buildings (as most law school graduates know – I didn’t do anything while studying for the bar except…study).

How this ruling will play out as we move forward will be interesting.  Are we finally seeing an end to affirmative action? Probably not, but thankfully it may end the practice of just promoting minorities because of their ethnicity, color, and/or race (wow, doesn’t this seem like an MLK Speech?).

The Opinions (multiple Justices made statements) total about 93 pages, and were released Monday morning so I have not had the time read them, as such, I am not ready to start ripping on Sotomayor which has been going around the news lately.  However, from the news stories I have read thus far, both the majority and dissent have been less than complimentary of the Supreme Court Nominee who was part of the lower court which was reversed.

Notwithstanding this post I don’t think a test would be fair if it only asked questions only whites knew the answer to, but that is not what happened in Ricci.



  1. I enjoyed reading your dip into the political. I too am frustrated at the current state of things.

    Regarding this case, at the end of the day, the people who get the promotion are going to be commanding men running into burning buildings. This is the last place I want aff action being used. At least save aff action for the jobs that don't put people's lives at risk.

    As for aff action in general, I for one would be offended/insulted/ashamed if the only reason I got a job was because of my race. I can't see how the recipients of the special treatment allow it.

    I think the jury is still out on Soto, but in her defense, I *think* she was just upholding a city ordinance with her ruling.

    • The best of the best should be leading the real men who are saving my ass from a burning building, as I cowardly cry in the corner.

      I know some of the questions (only because of my brother) and they have to do with burning times and combustion of materials, and I couldn't imagine a leader who doesn't know that info, who just got the job because of skin color! Its nuts.

  2. let me just say that i hate the term "reverse discrimination" or "reverse racism." there is nothing 'reverse' about it. racism is racism, whether it is a black person putting down a white, a korean putting down an indian, or a white putting down a native american. putting 'reverse' in front of the term implies that it is far less common or some unique circumstance, which in turn implies that racism really only applies from a dominant group to a minority.

    • Dan I couldn't agree more with you! All I want is to be treated equal, as should everyone else. Notwithstanding, the term is indicitive of the majority being attacked.

  3. I love this post. It has been on the news in my area and has frustrated me. Much like the firefighters in the North West that are being let go because they DO NOT speak spanish – this is America folks! I am a citizen and I do not speak spanish and would freak if the guy coming in to save me couldn't communicate to me what I need to do.

    What scares me a bit is that this obvious (at least to me) decision was a 5-4.

  4. Ah, affirmative action. Always sure to get a rise out of the crowd when it’s mentioned, perhaps most of all if you are a straight white Protestant male. My thoughts on affirmative action in general in a moment, but first: This particular case seems just completely insane. Unless there was some reason to believe that it was intentionally designed to discriminate against non-whites (and since I’m not now, nor ever was, a firefighter, I’m forced to ask, how would you even do that?), there’s no reason to assume that the test was anything but straightforward and that the test-takers succeeded or failed on their own merits. My only hope is that disallowing the results was because of officials overreacting, rather than minority firefighters complaining. (It’s been too long since I read anything about this case to remember for certain.)

    Now, as to affirmative action itself. I think it was a good idea at the time, but we’ve probably reached the point where it does as much harm as good to those it was supposed to help. At best, it taints every minority who’s managed to get a good job or into a prominent university with the idea of ‘He only made it in because of affirmative action’. At worst, it can lead to actual instances of reverse discrimination and other injustices (although, I think the number of genuine examples is probably much lower than the most vocal opponents believe).

    Personally, I think the time period when a corporation, government office, or other sizable group could blatantly and knowingly discriminate against a minority group without feeling major repercussions from protests, boycotts, and angry political cartoons is long since gone. (Alright, some of the smaller, less popular minority groups might still be fair game; the members of NAMBLA are unlikely to stop being kicked around anytime soon.) I say, end affirmative action, enforce laws against legitimate discrimination (including reverse discrimination) where it occurs, and let’s try to get everyone back on a level playing field.

      • I did read your article about Obama and some of the crazy comments that you got; it’s actually how I got back here. I honestly don’t think I have any proper response as to the sheer insanity I saw in some of those responses. I suppose the bright side is that, if you are starting to get crazy comments like that, it probably means your blog is starting to get plenty of attention.


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