June 29th, 2009
06:11 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP applauds, Dems criticize overturning Sotomayor ruling

High court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was on the federal appeals court that backed New Haven, Connecticut.
High court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was on the federal appeals court that backed New Haven, Connecticut.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The political response to the Supreme Court's overturning a ruling by the woman who could be its newest member was sharply divided, with Republicans supporting the ruling while Democrats criticized it.

In its last day in session this term, justices ruled by a 5-4 majority that the city of New Haven, Connecticut, improperly threw out the results of promotional exams that officials said left too few minorities qualified. A group of 20 mostly white firefighters sued, claiming "reverse discrimination."

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who President Obama nominated last month to replace retiring Justice David Souter, and two other judges heard the case on their federal appeals court last year and sided with the city.

"I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to uphold equal rights for all and to strike down government decisions based on race," said Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

"No individual should be denied a promotion simply based on the color of their skin. ... The Supreme Court today reminded all courts and governments that equal justice under the law means refusing to tip the scale in favor of one race over another."

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Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. BK

    They overturned one ruling out of how many that she has made? Get some perspective, people. The Supreme Court justices themselves disagree with each other. In a way every time they vote, at least one of them is getting overturned.

    June 29, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Now the GOP thnk they have a big win. Woo hoo. Don't get your hopes too high though because Judge Sotomayor will still be confirmed. Now that Souter is gone, let's see how he would have ruled on the case.

    June 29, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. GenTwelve

    Who really cares waht right-wing hate mongers think. The party of "no" will not be satisfied until there is another civil war. Shame on them!

    June 29, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. ABMiller

    These hearings should be hilarious.
    But what do I know - I"m not a wise Latina woman.

    June 29, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. D. Tree

    There's no such thing as "reverse" discrimination – either you are discriminated against or you are not.

    Meanwhile, the same supreme court ruled against Brown vs. Board of education... all the more reason to have someone who isn't so right-wing on the court. Scalia and Thomas need to retire and take their bitter, outdated politics with them!

    June 29, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Jefe

    This Democrat applauds the decision. I don't want my children to have to worry about their race (caucasian) being the thing keeping them from succeeding in life.

    June 29, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Robin

    Discrimination is wrong no matter what.

    These fire-fighters were looked over for promotions because they passed a test will stellar scores.

    If you and your family are trapped in a burning house, who do you want out there planning your rescue? The men and women who are qualified, or someone who got the job because they were a minority?

    June 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Frank in Wilton Manors

    One little issue I have not heard discussed in this controversy is, all parties were given the SAME test and had the SAME opportunities to prepare for it. Perhaps the minorities now whining (or whining at that time) just didn't get with the program?

    June 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Skip, a black man

    Ok, just blame it on bush.....come on left, just open your mind, its not that hard...is it?

    June 29, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Vickie

    5-4 – is not exactly a landslide. Looks like this issue may not have been as "clear-cut" as some have sought to portray.

    June 29, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. LacrosseMom

    What else is new? Sotomayor ruled on the law, the Supreme Court's job is to define and interpret the law.

    SO? THE GOP is grasping at straws.... they got nothin'!

    June 29, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Henry Miller

    Democrats don't seem to mind screwing individuals in pursuit of various social objectives–a thoroughly contemptible attitude.

    It used to be I could say with reasonable confidence that Republicans had more respect for individuals than that, but in recent years, with things like the PATRIOT Act, FISA, REAL ID, etc., it's become apparent that the GOP has become as authoritarian as the Dems, or more so.

    The commonality is clear: neither party really cares any more what American citizens want. As far as both parties are concerned, the only proper role of the citizens is to shut up, pay taxes, and do as they're told.

    "The land of the free."

    Yeah, right...

    June 29, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Johnny C (Los Angeles)

    The problem lies here ... Leahy argued that the "narrow decision is likely to result in cutbacks on important protections for American families. It is less likely now that employers will conscientiously try to fulfill their obligations under this time-honored civil rights law. This is a cramped decision that threatens to erode these protections and to harm the efforts of state and local governments that want to build the most qualified workforces."

    A key person on the Judiciary committee? This is why we should not have Legislators working anywhere near the Judiciary.

    This man should be ashamed of himself ... perhaps the time honored law was poorly written in the first place ... hopefully another esteemed gent on the taxpayer's payroll that will not get reelected.

    June 29, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Jon in CA

    The Supreme Court made the RIGHT decision.... but what do I know... I'm just a white male.

    June 29, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Derka Derr

    God Republicans are so jelous. Make it a little more obvious.

    June 29, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Jack

    Since the justices ruled 5 to 4, there was hardly a consensus, even among them. Half agreed, half didn't. It's not like they overturned it 9 to 0 or 8 to 1.

    June 29, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Chaz

    The title of this article is misleading. Do all dems criticize this ruling, and all of the GOP applaud it? I only saw a couple quotes and I don't think it's fair to generalize from only a couple of sources.

    This only contributes to the decisiveness of the public. People somehow feel persuaded to think a certain way because of party affiliation. Form your own opinion, who cares what all these partisan morons think.

    June 29, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. Skiwee

    A 5-4 decision isn't THAT overwhelming, is it?

    June 29, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Kevin from Co

    What are they supposed to do, dummy down the test until minoritys can pass it and then hire them? How stupid.

    June 29, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. Vegas

    No promotion should ever be based on race, creed, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other discrminator except for QUALIFICATIONS.

    If you're qualified for the promotion, you should get the promotion.

    Pretty simple.

    June 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. gail

    What a crock this decision is and what hypocrisy on the part of the GOP that says they believe in local control, but when Judge Sotomayor and two other justices give a unanimous ruling upholding that the GOP says no , she should have been an activist and overturned it. Also , they applaud the activism of the Supreme Court today in a 5-4 decision, narrow decision, they are hypocrites and the court has again done the same crap they diid in 2004. Also , I think that they did this to try to embarrass Judge Sotomayor since they deferred all other cases to highlight this one on the last day. This is a disgrace. She will be confirmed.

    June 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Red

    I'm a left wing bleeding heart liberal Democrat, and I applaud their decision. No one should be refused a promotion based on their race...NO MATTER WHICH RACE THAT IS, including white. My husband took the Fire Test many years ago and was placed at #40 on the physical and written parts of the test out of 7,000+ people....and he still didn't get a job...because he was white. There were people who were literally 1/16th of a minority who were at the bottom of the list and placed in jobs! I want the best qualified and I don't care what they look like!

    June 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Don

    This isn't about Republican vs. Democrat. It is about righting a wrong and preventing discrimination based on race.

    June 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Kel

    It was the right decision. Imagine if they told your kids, not enough students passed the exam, so you all get to repeat the course. Sorry, take the best person for the job, they all wrote the same exam. I don't care who gets the promotion, as long as its deserved.

    June 29, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Robin

    @ Kevin from Co June 29th, 2009 5:20 pm ET

    What are they supposed to do, dummy down the test until minoritys can pass it and then hire them? How stupid.
    -------------------------------

    Schools have been on the "dummy down" system for the past 20 years. That is why I send my young children to private school.

    June 29, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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