Frank Ricci is "just" a fireman, and not, like Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor, a federal judge. He is "only" a white male, and not, like Sotomayor, a Latina. And while he works in New Haven, Conn., he certainly didn't attend Yale Law School as Sotomayor did.
For one thing, he's dyslexic. That's why Ricci spent more than $1,000 to pay an acquaintance to make recordings of the educational materials Ricci needed to master in order to pass a 2003 test that was specially drawn up for the New Haven Fire Department. The test was to determine who was eligible for 15 lieutenant and captain promotions. After months of intensive study, Ricci scored sixth highest out of 77 candidates. Because the results were deemed racially unacceptable -- none of the 19 black test-takers made the cut -- New Haven mayor John DeStefano Jr. decided to junk all the test results and promote no one.
That was six years ago. This April, the Supreme Court heard Ricci v. DeStefano, a case that Sotomayor, as part of a three-judge panel, upheld on appeal against Ricci and the 17 other firemen who joined his complaint. Better to perpetuate group grievance, Sotomayor's decision tells us, than to ensure equality of opportunity. Better to pick winners and losers from the bench than to safeguard the rights of the individual to life, liberty and a fair shot at a promotion.
And better to advocate a kind of racial and sexual supremacism than to safeguard for one and all the kind of justice that is blind. "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion (as a judge) than a white male who hasn't lived that life," Sotomayor said in her Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at UC Berkeley's law school in 2001.
The cavalier condescension toward the "white" and the "male" in this statement is breathtaking. And in Ricci v. DeStefano, Sotomayor showed us precisely how she implements it: by upholding discrimination against the expendable, those such as Ricci and his co-plaintiffs who don't have black skin. This is reverse discrimination, and among activist judges such as Sotomayor and Democrats on the left, such as President Barack Obama, it is not only acceptable, it is a sterling credential.