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Assignment Questions

Civil Rights

Civil Rights Assignment
Many American cities try to keep the appearance of politics and favoritism out of their human resources decisions by using standardized written tests to decide who gets promoted when promotions are available in the city’s workforce. In 2003, the New Haven, Connecticut, Fire Department conducted a test for promotion to lieutenant and captain. 118 firefighters took the test, but when the city found that white firefighters made the ten highest scores, and would fill all eight vacant positions, the city decided to discard the test results on the grounds that they must have been racially biased.

The firefighters who passed the test argued that, in being passed over for a promotion to which they were entitled, they were discriminated against because of their race – a violation of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The City of New Haven argued that accepting the test results would have been discrimination – given the discriminatory result of promoting only white firefighters.

Find a U.S. Supreme Court case called Ricci v. DeStefano, which was decided in June, 2009.

Write an essay explaining the facts pertaining to this case. Explain the views of both parties to this case, and the reasoning behind the court’s decision. Explain why one justice wrote a concurring opinion, and what he said in his. Explain why one justice (joined by three colleagues) issued a dissenting opinion, and summarize her dissent. Finally, tell me how you would rule on this case if you were a member of the Supreme Court.

I like the Cornell University Law School website for Supreme Court research, but you can use any of the sources mentioned in the directions for the civil liberties assignment, or any others that you find on your own.

Submit this assignment in Microsoft Word. Cite your sources.

Resources you may use:

Oyez has a great summary to get you started: http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2008/2008_07_1428

The Supreme Court’s Scotuswiki has a wealth of information on this case: http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Ricci%2C_et_al._v._DeStefano%2C_et_al.

The Wall Street Journal called the court’s decision “an important step in the right direction:” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB.html

The New York Times called it a “blow to diversity:”http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/opinion/01wed1.html?_r=1&ref=

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