The Corner

Ugh: More Disparate Impact

Alas, I end the day as I began it, with a posting on disparate impact and police exams.  My earlier post discussed how Chicago is seriously considering getting rid of its police entrance exam altogether. One reason, according to the Chicago Sun-Times article I quoted, is the “costly legal battles” associated with such exams. On cue, the Obama administration this afternoon announced that it is going to drag yet another jurisdiction into such a costly legal battle, bringing a disparate-impact challenge against “New Jersey’s use of a written examination for promotion to the rank of police sergeant in localities throughout the state.” No allegation that the test, by its terms, design, or application, is discriminatory — just that African Americans and Hispanics have not done as well on it. Such lawsuits are a top priority of the Obama administration, and they inevitably drive employers, like the Chicago police department, into either imposing quotas or hiring less qualified individuals.

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