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Firefighters Were 'Devastated' By Sotomayor Court's Ruling

Two of the New Haven firefighters at the center of a reverse discrimination case that has become part of the Senate debate over the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor had their chance to speak just moments ago.

Frank Ricci and Benjamin Vargas each told the Senate Judiciary Committee that they were disappointed not just in the decision made by the federal appeals court that Sotomayor sits on but also by the single-page, unpublished order issued by the court.

"We were devastated," Vargas testified. He had expected a "reasoned ... open and transparent" opinion from the court.

The appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling that the city of New Haven could toss out the results of a firefighters' promotion test because minorities had scored poorly on it. Ricci is white. Vargas is Hispanic. Both had scored well on the test.

Sotomayor told the committee that week that she and the other two judges on the appeals court felt bound by earlier precedent — and that the Supreme Court created new precedent when it recently reversed the appeals court's decision.

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