Court Ruling Raises Questions on Sotomayor

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The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race.

The ruling reverses a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

Click play for analysis of the imapct of Monday's decision with Gerson Moreno-Riano,  Department Chair of Government at Regent University.

In the case, one Hispanic and 19 white firefighters claimed they were discriminated against by the city of New Haven.

Many had prepared long and hard for months to take promotion tests. When no African-Americans scored well enough on those exams to get promoted, New Haven threw out the tests.

"We were discriminated against because we were denied the promotions based on our race," Matt Marcarelli said.

The firefighers sued New Haven, lost and then appealed to the court where Judge Sonia Sotomayor sits. She ruled against the firefighters, saying the city was within its rights.

Now the Supreme Court has overruled her, just a couple of weeks shy of her confirmation hearings. 

The case already had conservatives upset over what they saw as reverse discrimination. 

Now the Court's ruling gives them heavy ammunition to use on Sotomayor, already suspected of being ready to allow discrimination as long as its against the white majority.

It also gives critics a chance to point out how often Sotomayor's rulings have been reversed by the highest court: 60 percent.

And they'll use that to critique the judge's judgment.

*Originally published June 29, 2009

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at