Sotomayor’s Conn. firefighter ruling overturned by Supreme Court

In a major reverse-discrimination case, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that white New Haven firefighters were discriminated against when the city threw out a promotion test because not enough minorities did well on it.

The 5-4 ruling overturns an appeals court decision by Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, said New Haven could not show a convincing reason why the test should be thrown out, and said the threat of lawsuits from minority candidates wasn’t justification.

“Many of the candidates had studied for months, at considerable personal and financial expense, and thus the injury caused by the citys reliance on raw racial statistics at the end of the process was all the more severe,” Justice Kennedy wrote in an opinion joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel A. Alito.