WASHINGTON — Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor are quietly targeting the Connecticut firefighter who's at the center of Sotomayor's most controversial ruling.
On the eve of Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the "troubled and litigious work history" of firefighter Frank Ricci.
On Friday, citing in an e-mail "Frank Ricci's troubled and litigious work history," the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way drew reporters' attention to Ricci's past. Other advocates for Sotomayor have discreetly urged journalists to pursue similar story lines.
Specifically, the advocates have zeroed in on an earlier 1995 lawsuit Ricci filed claiming the city of New Haven discriminated against him because he's dyslexic. The advocates cite other Hartford Courant stories from the same era recounting how Ricci was fired by a fire department in Middletown, Conn., allegedly, Ricci said at the time, because of safety concerns he raised.
The Middletown-area fire department was subsequently fined for safety violations, but the Connecticut Department of Labor dismissed Ricci's retaliation complaint.
Hey stupids. Ricci's discrimination lawsuit concerning his dyslexia and his firing by the Middletown fire department have what to do with the issue of racial preferences? Absolutely nothing.
So get a load of what the 'People for the American Way' have to say about Sotomayor's decision in the Ricci case:
"Sotomayor and her panel colleagues were bound by long-standing precedent and federal law," People for the American Way executive vice president Marge Baker said in a June statement. "They applied the law without regard to their personal views."
If that's true, Marge, then why did the Supreme court reverse her stupid decision? And why did Sotomayor say this about her feelings on the impact of race on job performance of judges?
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion."
That sentence, or a similar one, has appeared in speeches Sotomayor delivered in 1994, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2001. In that speech, she included the phrase "than a white male who hasn't lived that life" at the end, which sparked cries of racism from some Republicans.
Since Sotomayor believes skin color can have an impact on the job performance of a judge, it is quite likely she also believes it can have an impact on the job performance of a fireman. It is clear that she has indeed used her personal views on race in her decision in the Ricci case.