In light of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week, in which the controversial nominee must face tough scrutiny from senators of both parties on her judicial philosophy, temperament, and fidelity to the rule of law, political commentators on the left are naturally busy suggesting harsh, delegitimizing questions for… Frank Ricci! The lead New Haven firefighter in the Ricci v. Destefano racial discrimination lawsuit, who will testify in the hearings, has been attacked by Slate magazine, among others, for having previously brought lawsuits against former employers for discriminating against him due to his dyslexia and for firing him for being a whistleblower against his department.
Ignoring the fact that Ricci’s earlier lawsuits have zero legal bearing on the arguments in the Ricci v. Destefano case and that the Supreme Court recently overturned Sotomayor’s ruling against Ricci, why should the other 17 firefighters in the lawsuit suffer if it so happens that Ricci was lawsuit-happy with his previous employers?
Speaking of those firefighters, Lieutenant Ben Vargas, who will also testify at Sotomayor’s hearings, is the Hispanic firefighter who joined 17 white firefighters in filing the lawsuit against the New Haven fire department. Vargas shares some superficial similarities to Sotomayor: both are Hispanic; both were born and raised in the U.S.; both have Puerto Rican parents who came here because they were poor. Both grew up in troubled, high-crime, urban neighborhoods in the Northeast; both found a way out of their circumstances through hard work in their chosen career paths. read more »