The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee is praising the Supreme Court's decision today in Ricci v. DeStefano, echoing the majority's opinion that the City of New Haven acted illegally.
"The Court's opinion is important because it recognizes that our civil rights law's prohibition on racial discrimination must be applied evenhandedly," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said in a statement. "The City’s action to deny promotion to these 18 firefighters after they had taken and passed an objective exam, fairly created and administered, amounted to reverse discrimination against the firefighters, in violation of federal law."
Earlier, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said that the ruling will weaken attempts to fight workplace discrimination. In a conference call with reporters, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said it was too early to say if Congress should try to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to counteract the Court's ruling in Ricci.
Sessions, in his statement, added that the Ricci ruling "will only raise more questions" about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, who was part of the three-judge panel that considered the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
"Every citizen has a right to have his or her case heard by a judge who will rule on the laws, the facts, and the Constitution — and not play favorites," Sessions said. "This case sharpens our focus on Judge Sotomayor's troubling speeches and writings, which indicate the opposite belief: that personal experiences and political views should influence a judge’s decision. That theory is a breathtaking departure from the proper role of the American judge and will clearly be the subject of questioning at the upcoming hearing.”