Much is being written, of course. My interest here is to record the reaction on the far left of the spectrum. Clearly, leftist victimology, and continued claims of "accumulated racial disadvantages" and "institutional discrimination," are driving the discussion on the left. Here are a few samples, in no particular order:
From Glenn Greenwald:
As is true for most discussions of affirmative action, the fight over Ricci has completely ignored the countless ways that whites in America have long benefited, and continue to benefit, from exactly the sort of non-merit considerations which affirmative action opponents decry. As Justice Ginsberg noted, whites had a virtual monopoly for decades on firefighter positions until Congress extended Title VII to public employment ("firefighting is a profession in which the legacy of racial discrimination casts an especially long shadow"), and city officials in this case determined that the test in question was flawed because, among other things, it did not reward merit ....From Christy Hardin Smith:
Anyone who tries to tell you that this is simply a race issue or an easy call doesn't know jack about labor law.From Melissa McEwan:
A very disappointing, if unsurprising, ruling. Typically, it was Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas in the majority, with Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, and Stevens dissenting. Ginsburg authored the dissent and noted, that the white firefighters "understandably attract this court's sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them."From Freddie DeBoer:
They had no vested right to promotion is pretty much the crux of the whole case, as far as I'm concerned. Seven words that say a hell of a lot about entitlement and privilege.
I am afraid for my country. This country has a permanent black underclass; Hispanic economic mobility is not much better. Decades of affirmative action have done little to fix that. Now, we appear ready to abandon those attempts to level the playing field entirely. Of course, principles and ideals are important. But my question is open, and I apply it to the most thoughtful opponents of affirmative action and the most rabid and unthinking alike: what are the effects, for our country, of a permanent racial achievement divide? And can we reasonably expect to maintain a peaceful and just society with such a gap between the races?From Joe Sudbay:
This decision will be the focus of a lot of spin today and for the next several weeks. Republicans have been looking for a line of attack on Sotomayor -- and may try to make this case a bigger issue. As far as I can tell, Sotomayor and her colleagues on the Court of Appeals were following precedence in their decision. Today, the Supreme Court changed the precedent and the interpretation of federal employment law.From Hullabaloo:
Those on the right wing will certainly spin this as proof positive of Sotomayor's incompetence, or her hatred of white people, etc. They've been preparing the ground for this ruling as a "seminal moment" that could derail the nomination, and they will come up with whatever distortions necessary to try to ensure that. But the charge rings pretty hollow and is based on a misunderstanding of the law, which is characteristic of many conservative arguments, actually.From Bit Tent Democrat:
In light of the SCOTUS' decision in Ricci, Congress must again act to rebuff the efforts of extreme right wing judicially activist Justices to roll back civil rights law ...From Darren Lenard Hutchinson:
As in Parents Involved, the extreme conservative, brazenly judicially activist Gang of 5 has made clear their own willingness to overturn actions by the elected representatives of the People to act to remedy centuries of discrimination.
The Congress can not let this brazen act of judicial activism stand. It must enact legislation overturning the Court's unprincipled decision in Ricci.
It is difficult to disagree with the White House statement (and the SCOTUS analysis), which says that the opinion proves that Judge Sotomayor is not biased.
As I stated in my prior analysis, even with the 5-4 reversal, 12 judges have voted against the firefighters, while 11 voted for them. This definitely shows that the issue was unsettled and that Second Circuit ruling was within the mainstream of legal thought (on a highly divisive issue).
I suspect that her opponents, however, will not let it go. Despite the fact that 11 other judges, including 4 who sit on the Supreme Court, have ruled the same way, they will still make noise about the ruling proving that she is unqualified for the Supreme Court. Ultimately, there complaints will have no effect.
BONUS OPINION ... From moderate Jonathan Turley:
It is a decision with which I expect most Americans would agree. It will be interesting to see if Congress attempts to amend the law to negate the ruling. The optics in “putting a thumb on the scale” of a test for firefighters is not good.
As for Sotomayor, these opinions have all of the substance that is missing in the Second Circuit opinion. Judge Cabranes is proven correct about the deeper issues here. One of my greatest concerns about Judge Sotomayor has been the lack of any deeper or more profound analysis in her opinions, which all too often tend to dismiss such issues.