Discrimination ruling a reason to get fired up against Sotomayor

Fire fighters are the solution to your problems. They put out fires, rescue children, and, in their spare time, help end injustice.

All in a day’s work for men and women who spend their careers running toward danger, not from it. But danger in a burning building is nothing compared to what Connecticut fire fighters, dubbed the “New Haven 20,” encountered first with their own department and then the legal system. The 19 white and one Hispanic firefighters took the lieutenant’s and captain’s exams and did too well – outperforming minority candidates. So the city canceled the test and the legal system stopped them as well – including our likely next Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

That all was halted Monday by a slim 5-4 majority, as the Supreme Court showed there is justice in America, at least until Sotomayor is confirmed for the court. That rejection of her vote unfortunately won’t be enough to stop liberal Democrats from racing to add that ironic word “Justice” before her name. Justice is supposed to be blind to biases not facts. With Sotomayor, we get just the opposite.

The ruling does mean employers and employees can reasonably attempt to treat all men and women equally. It’s a concept the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. used to speak about, but it’s not one many in the media support.

CBS portrayed the New Haven fight as a racial issue where “conservative justices” were aligned against “civil rights.” As if being against racial discrimination is somehow against civil rights. More like against civil wrongs.

The New York Times front page headline also played the race card and made no mention of Sotomayor in big type so she wasn’t linked to the embarrassment. According to the Times, “Supreme Court Finds Bias Against White Firefighters.” They’re half right. It’s a white issue – a black-and-white issue to be exact. Just not the way they mean.

It’s black and white because the right and wrong are so obvious. No ordinary person looking at this case could think anything other than these brave firefighters were discriminated against. Twenty successful, skilled and knowledgeable public servants were denied promotion for no other reason than their race. Twenty men you want to save your home and rescue your child were denied advancement in their livelihood simply because of the color of their skins.

It makes a mockery of the Constitution.

Had this been discrimination against African-Americans, Asians or Native Americans, the major media would have been incensed, as well they should be. Instead we are told by none other than The Washington Post that “No Peril Seen for Sotomayor.” Her nomination is reportedly on track since congressional Democrats don’t mind a little favoritism as long as it’s for groups that are on their side. Discriminating against ordinary Americans in court is OK – if you’re a self-described “liberal.”

So much for the judge who has “empathy” as Obama claimed he was seeking. But Sotomayor might prove a problem anyhow, especially for some of the rock-solid liberal politicians who support her. The left, which always claims it’s for the workers and union men, discovered those same workers and union men don’t like being pushed around and discriminated against.

When pushed too far, those workers do what all Americans do – they lawyer up and sue. It might take six years to win, but “justice” is always worthy of that fight.

And that’s why this potential Justice is such a concern. She is, after all, the same woman who belonged to all-woman group called Belizean Grove which she claimed “does not practice invidious discrimination.” But it was biased enough that even she had to resign. She’s also the same woman who famously said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman would reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

She is a judge who seems muddled on the very issue of justice. And that is causing a few headaches for her backers. The White House desperately tried to spin the New Haven ruling as being something other than about blatant discrimination. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs argued “there's little political significance to whatever the court decided today in terms of Judge Sotomayor.”

Gibbs is an experienced press manipulator. He can lie out of both sides of the mouth and never stop even during a seven course meal. But that’s a whopper even for him. The rebuke by the very court she hopes to join holds great significance for the would-be Justice.

The New Haven ruling ended up being another fire for Gibbs to put out. Only this time, he’s on his own. He can’t call in the professionals because they’ve seen what this administration means by “justice.”


Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the MediaResearchCenter’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum and he can be seen each Thursday on Foxnews.com’s “Strategy Room.”