Bench Memos

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Stuart Taylor to AG Holder on Race


The National Journal’s invaluable Stuart Taylor has a great column responding to Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech calling for more discussion of race—a speech Taylor calls “embarrassingly misinformed, hackneyed, and devoid of thoughtful contributions to racial dialogue”.  You should read the whole thing.  I’ll limit myself here to excerpting the last two paragraphs, which deal with the Ricci v. DeStefano case pending before the Supreme Court:


One especially egregious reverse-discrimination case of which you are surely aware — because it is pending before the Supreme Court and politically explosive — is a lawsuit by white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who were denied promotions they had earned. The reason was that powerful political figures wanted to promote some blacks who had done much less well on tests of firefighting skills and expertise.
The most important contribution that your Justice Department could make to a serious conversation about race in the near future would be to file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting those white firefighters. The deadline for doing that is February 26, the day this column goes to press. Here’s hoping that you do the right thing, and that your brief writers do a better job than your speechwriters.


I’d be shocked if DOJ filed a brief yesterday in support of the firefighters, but I’ll check on this (and update this post accordingly).  Update:  Roger Clegg summarizes DOJ’s brief here. As I understand it, DOJ’s brief is supporting vacatur and remand on a very narrow ground favorable to the firefighters, but its major arguments are adverse to them.

Tags: Whelan


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