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Tomorrow the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that’s been being argued in New Haven for years. In 2004, New Haven city officials decided to throw out the results of a fire department promotional exam after the results of the exam yielded a racially lopsided set of promotions. The high scorers on the test, a group of white and Latino firefighters passed the test at twice the rate of the department’s black candidates, and they’ve sued, saying that they’ve been robbed of promotions on the basis of “reverse discrimination.” The city defends its decision saying that it acted under its legal obligations—to comply with civil rights law.
The Obama Administration has weighed in on the case, one of the first major civil rights questions to come before the Roberts Court. Now New Haven, and the country, wait for a decision that could change how employers comply with The Civil Rights Act of 1964.