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SCOTUS: Tossing firefighters’ promotion test violated Title VII

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the refusal by New Haven officials to certify firefighters’ promotion test results because too few minorities passed violated Title VII. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority in Ricci v. DeStefano, wrote that the city’s argument that certifying the test scores would have led to disparate impact litigation was not a satisfactory justification.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read comments from her dissent – which was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Stephen Breyer – from the bench, according to SCOTUSblog.com. That practice is rare, but not unheard of, by dissenters. Ginsburg has read dissents from the bench in cases including Ledbetter and Gonzales v. Carhart.

This ruling in Ricci will almost surely become fodder for GOP lawmakers during the confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor, who joined the 2nd Circuit’s per curiam opinion upholding city official’s decision not the certify the test results. That ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court this morning.

The Court also released the opinions in Cuomo v. The Clearing House Ass’n. Ina  surprise move, the Court also announced that the terms final case – Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which involved the film “Hillary: The Movie” – will be re-argued next term.

The Court also added six cases to next term’s docket.

Much more on the Ricci ruling to come on this blog and on Lawyers USA Online.

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