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U.S. Judge Orders Promotions For White New Haven Firefighters

White New Haven firefighters with their lawyer, Karen Torre, in June 2009. Mary Altaffer/AP Photo hide caption

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Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

White New Haven firefighters with their lawyer, Karen Torre, in June 2009.

Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

A federal judge has ordered the city of New Haven to promote 14 white firefighters after the U.S. Supreme Court decided in June that their civil rights had been violated when the city threw out the results of promotion tests on which minority firefighters had done poorly.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton had dismissed the white firefighters' reverse-discrimination lawsuit in 2006. But she was reversed by the Supreme Court in Ricci v. DeStefano in a five-to-four vote with the case sent back to her to resolve along the lines of the high court's decision.

According to the New Haven Register:

The two-page, barebones order issued late Tuesday afternoon was the culmination of five years of litigation that wound all the way to the nation's highest court — and has been the subject of a recent flurry of legal wrangling trying to prevent the promotions from happening.

Casting that aside, Judge Janet Bond Arterton, who in 2006 threw out the firefighters' lawsuit, laid out the city's road map. Her judgment stated the city's Civil Service Board "shall certify" the results of the contested 2003 promotional examinations for fire lieutenant and captain, "shall certify" promotional lists and then promote 14 members of the so-called "New Haven 20."

Karen Torre, the attorney for the firefighters, declined comment Tuesday night.

The order comes just weeks after seven black New Haven firefighters filed a motion seeking to intervene in the case and delay any order from Arterton, and days after Torre requested a status conference to find out the judge's intentions.