NAACP Statement On The New Haven Firemen Verdict

A little whine with that cheese?–Ed.

The  Supreme Court ruling Monday in the New Haven Firefighter caseis a disappointing setback to civil rights in America, the president ofthe NAACP said following the decision.

“This decision is astep backward for equal opportunity in employment” said Benjamin ToddJealous. “We are very disappointed in the courts’ decision to create anew flawed legal standard. It is especially disappointing both giventhe racially charged dynamic in many cities’ fire departments and giventhat the Supreme Court has refused to allow the New Haven department tomeet this new legal standard before making their decision.” Jealoussaid.

The 5-4 Supreme Court ruling overturned a 2nd CircuitCourt of Appeals decision that had upheld the city of New Haven’sattempt to review its testing process for promotions.  Whitefirefighters, joined by one Hispanic candidate, filed the suit afterthe city threw out results of an exam in which black applicants’ passrate was roughly half that of white applicants.

The city’s independent examination review board, which has authorityto certify the test results, held hearings to determine if the testquestions had been racially biased.   The five-member review boardsplit evenly on the certification of the exam results, after one boardmember, citing a conflict of interest, declined to vote.

Monday’sruling, however, did indicate that a majority of the Justicesunderstand that discrimination remains a serious problem in America,and that government and our courts have a responsibility to takemeasures to address it, Jealous said.  “Despite today’s disappointingruling, the laws of our Constitution still requires employers to avoidpolicies that are discriminatory in practice,” Jealous said. “It isvital that employers continue to diligently follow the range of stepsto make sure they are providing equal opportunity in the workplace.  Itis only through fair and equal opportunity that we can remove thebarriers to assuring that we are able to realize America’s promise foreveryone.” Jealous concluded.