Four White firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who were the subject of a discrimination case that reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, will be promoted.
The firefighters were among the New Haven 20 – 19 Whites and one Hispanic – who argued in court that the city had discriminated against them by throwing out their exam results six years ago because the test failed to promote enough qualified people of color.
Seven African-American sought to delay the promotions. On Tuesday, a federal District Court ruled that the city violated the civil rights of the White firefighters when it threw out the exams.
"Yesterday, the court entered an order that provides the City of New Haven with the legal sanction necessary to move forward and promote the fourteen plaintiffs in the Ricci case entitled to promotions," the city said in a statement. "As a result, we intend to do so as soon as practicable."
The firefighters will be promoted to either lieutenant or captain.
The other six firefighters named in the lawsuit were not eligible for promotions that were available at the time the exams were given, and thus the court's order only addresses 14 of the 20 plaintiffs.
During the confirmation hearings of now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, lawmakers targeted the decision-making of the nominee in that case. At the time, Sotomayor was on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the city of New Haven. The high court later overturned the appeals court’s ruling, finding that the city improperly threw out the results of the promotion exams.