Stuart Taylor explaining why the Supreme Court rejected Sotomayor's position by a 9-0 vote, not 5-4

Stuart Taylor's piece is available from the National Journal here:

What's more striking is that the court was unanimous in rejecting the Sotomayor panel's specific holding. Her holding was that New Haven's decision to spurn the test results must be upheld based solely on the fact that highly disproportionate numbers of blacks had done badly on the exam and might file a "disparate-impact" lawsuit -- regardless of whether the exam was valid or the lawsuit could succeed.

This position is so hard to defend, in my view, that I hazarded a prediction in my June 13 column: "Whichever way the Supreme Court rules in the case later this month, I will be surprised if a single justice explicitly approves the specific, quota-friendly logic of the Sotomayor-endorsed... opinion" by U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton.

Unlike some of my predictions, this one proved out. In fact, even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's 39-page dissent for the four more liberal justices quietly but unmistakably rejected the Sotomayor-endorsed position that disparate racial results alone justified New Haven's decision to dump the promotional exam without even inquiring into whether it was fair and job-related.

Justice Ginsburg also suggested clearly -- as did the Obama Justice Department, in a friend-of-the-court brief -- that the Sotomayor panel erred in upholding summary judgment for the city. Ginsburg said that the lower courts should have ordered a jury trial to weigh the evidence that the city's claimed motive -- fear of losing a disparate impact suit by low-scoring black firefighters if it proceeded with the promotions -- was a pretext. The jury's job would have been to consider evidence that the city's main motive had been to placate black political leaders who were part of Mayor John DeStefano's political base.

Disparate-impact law, as codified by Congress in 1991, specifies that an employer whose qualifying exam or other selection criterion produces racially disparate results can be held liable for unintentional discrimination only if (1) the test is not "job-related... and consistent with business necessity," or (2) the employer is presented with and refuses to adopt another, similarly job-related test with less disparate impact.

Contrary to the Sotomayor-endorsed opinion, the Ginsburg dissent states (on page 19) that an employer's decision to jettison a promotional test under circumstances like this case would be legal only if the employer had "good cause to believe the [test] would not withstand examination for business necessity."

Ginsburg added (on page 26 and page 33) that "ordinarily, a remand for fresh consideration" would be proper because the lower courts (including Judge Sotomayor) had not carefully considered the evidence of "pretext" and racial politics. . . .

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Blogger Scott Huminski said...


Sotomayor flunks on getting the most basic principle of appellate law wrong – the Standard of Review.

In Huminski v. Haverkoch, 11/5/04, 03-7036 2d. Cir., Sotomayor reveals an ignorance of the law by failing to apply the correct standard of review to an important civil rights case. She found appellate review was for reversible error when the correct standard of review for such a case (summary judgment) is De Novo.

A simple google on, “standard of review for summary judgment de novo” supplies tens of authorities on the issue. I guess Sotomayor would rather be wrong than google on such a rudimentary issue. She also could have assigned her flock of law clerks to research the issue. Further, on a motion for rehearing specifically pointing out her error she did not act and correct it.

Here is the link to the Sotomayor summary order from this case in which she presided over.


See also,

Where the order states “For the Court”, it refers to Sotomayor and the 2 other judges on the case.

See a different case of mine, Huminski v. Corsones, No. 02-6201 (2d Cir. 10/07/2004) (“We review a district court's grant or denial of summary judgment de novo.”)

Empathy, not much empathy for this wrongly convicted and incarcerated citizen,
It appears she gave this imprisoned man the same bogus one page opinion that I got.

-- Scott Huminski
(202) 239-1252

7/01/2009 4:03 PM  
Blogger juandos said...


So is the parasitic pinko that wants to hire her...

You have to wonder why people who voted for the parasitic pinko didn't bother to check out his socialist bonifies?

7/01/2009 7:37 PM  

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