Fourteen firefighters who won a discrimination received their promotion badges today. The ceremony was more than just the promotion it was symbolic of their fight to get the promotions and their victory.
In June the high court rules that New Haven had violated the civil rights of fourteen white fire fighters when they threw out the test results of a 2003 test in which too few minorities did well. Thursday it came full circle as the fourteen firefighters as well as 10 other firefighters (four of which were minorities) who all took the 2003 tests were awarded their new badges and promotions in the town of New Haven, Connecticut.
Last month Dennis Thompson, an attorney for black firefighters tried to block the promotions. He cited that the fight wasn't over yet, because the black firefighters were not heard. his contention is that in other cases the cities were required to make more promotions than planned.
This case got national exposure with President Obama's nomination and eventual confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It was Sotomayor who rules against the white firefighters when she served on the federal appeals court. The position of the city and the minorities was that the test was not fair to all firefighters who took it.
This is something that both Thompson and David Rosen, the attorney for another New Haven firefighter will continue to argue. Rosen also feels that there are other positions that are vacant and that his client isn't trying to take anything away from those being promoted.
Frank Ricci who was the lead plaintiff told the Senate during the confirmation hearings of Sotomayor that, "achievement is neither limited nor determined by one's race but by one's skills, dedication, commitment and character." Ricci also added that the lower court's ruling against him divided people along racial lines and that they didn't want to be divided at all, especially in that way.