The irony of using Ricci against Sotomayor has always been that the reason this case resonates for so many people is due to empathy for the white firefighters. That irony is underscored by today's ruling, as Justice Kennedy devotes multiple paragraphs at the beginning of his opinion to highlighting all of the facts (as opposed to legal arguments) which make people sympathetic to Ricci. Conversely, Justice Ginsburg, writing for the dissenters, noted upfront that the white firefighters "understandably attract this Court's sympathy," but it must be the law -- i.e., long-standing legal precedent and the purpose of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act -- which determines the outcome.Shorter Glenn Greenwald: empathy is okay for supporters of white firefighters, not okay for Judge Sotomayor. Got it.
From the start, those protesting Sotomayor's decision in Ricci did so by appealing not to law, but to emotion, non-legal precepts of "fairness" and empathy -- at the very same time that those very same people mocked the notion that those considerations should play any role in judicial decision-making.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Greenwald on Ricci
I may be in a minority of one on Ricci. I think the Supreme Court's decision demonstrates that Judge Sotomayor was not "out of the mainstream" (yuk) in ruling as she did. I also think the Surpeme Court got Ricci right. Glenn Greenwald canvasses the arguments--the good and the bad. But I invite particular attention to Greenwald on the E word: