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Firehouses Give Chilly Reaction to Sotomayor Hearing

Firefighters around the country weren’t paying much attention to theSotomayor hearing, but almost all of them had strong feelings about thelawsuit that senators are asking her about.

ReneArchambault, a firefighter for 27 years in Lawrence, Mass., said hehopes Sotomayor’s confirmation is derailed because she ruled againstwhite firefighters who had accused New Haven, Conn., of racial bias.
That ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court.

“Ihope she doesn’t get confirmed, rendering those types ofdecisions,”said Archambault, a white firefighter in a heavily Hispaniccity. “If you were an astronaut, would you want to fly on the shuttlebuilt by the lower bidder? … I think you would want the bestcandidate.”   Patrick Driscoll, president of the Lawrence Firefighters Union, Local146, said he disagreed with her decision but doesn’t think it willaffect her confirmation.

“Everybody should be held to the samestandard and accountability,” he said. “If she’s trying to turn thingsaround because of race or origin, I don’t know if that kind of personbeing appointed is the right way to go.”

The white firefighterschallenged New Haven’s decision to scrap the results of a promotiontest because too few minorities scored high enough to qualify.

“I couldn’t say it was fair or not,” said Malik Mtima, a black firefighter in Atlanta. “It’s not likely that black firefighters just weren’t smart enough.”

ChiefFranklin Lockwood leads a department of 12 white firefighters in St.Francis, Wis. He read the headlines, but didn’t think much about thecase.

“Those guys are from New Haven. It’s not a problem in my back yard.”*

* Which explains exactly why European American activists are unable to gain any political traction. Chief Lockwood’s extreme individualism, and those who share it, borders on pathology. — Ed.

2009-07-14

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