By Mark Memmott

The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling today that it was wrong of the city of New Haven to throw out a promotion exam because white firefighters did much better on it than minorities is getting a great deal of attention because the court reversed a decision that nominee Sonia Sotomayor had endorsed at the appeals court level.

But on Talk of the Nation a short while ago, Los Angeles Times legal correspondent David Savage told host Neal Conan that Sotomayor had been doing what appeals court judges typically do -- following the precedent of decisions made in her circuit and by the Supreme Court.

Savage also said it's not clear how much of an impact today's decision will have on other cities or government agencies because it is "hard to believe anyone could bungle" promotion exams "the way New Haven managed to bungle this."

The New Haven Register has substantial coverage of the case from its beginning through today.

It summarizes the case this way:

The city in 2004 decided to scrap two promotional exams because no African Americans and two Hispanic firefighters would have been eligible to vie for 15 vacancies in the ranks of captains and lieutenants. The city argued that the results had a disparate impact on minorities and could have opened up the city to a lawsuit by black firefighters under the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 20 firefighters and their lawyer argued that the city violated their equal protection rights and the disparate treatment provision of the landmark Civil Rights Act by discriminating against them because they are white.

Today, the Register reports: Fire Lt. Matt Marcarelli, a plaintiff who scored first on the captain's test, said he felt "humbled...elated...and proud," Monday.

categories: National News

3:55 - June 29, 2009