A reverse discrimination lawsuit filed by a group of Connecticut firefighters is shaping up to be the most contentious case in whichSonia Sotomayor participated, one sure to provoke sharp questioning when the Senate begins consideration of her nomination to theSupreme Court.
In 2008, Sotomayor was one of three judges on a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit who upheld a trial court's ruling rejecting the reverse discrimination claims by 19 white firefighters, one of whom was also Hispanic. The plaintiffs claimed that the city of New Haven violated their rights by throwing out the results of an officers' promotion exam in which minority candidates received disproportionately low scores.
The substance of that 2008 ruling, which the Supreme Court is now considering, is proving less problematic than the manner in which Sotomayor and the other two judges on her panel handled the case.
At first, they issued only a brief, unsigned summary order noting the trial court's "thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned opinion" rather than offering a full opinion of their own. Four months later, as the full circuit court was about to issue a ruling on whether to take up the case, they withdrew the unpublished order and issued an equally brief unsigned opinion.