With the Supreme Court's decision in Ricci v. DeStefano this week, we can now report that Sonia Sotomayor is even crazier than Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
To recap the famous Ricci case, in 2003, the city of New Haven threw out the results of a firefighters' test -- which had been expressly designed to be race-neutral -- because only whites and Hispanics scored high enough to receive immediate promotions, whereas blacks who took the test did well enough only to be eligible for promotions down the line.
Inasmuch as the high-scoring white and Hispanic firemen were denied promotions solely because of their race, they sued the city for race discrimination.
Obama's Justice-designate Sotomayor threw out their lawsuit in a sneaky, unsigned opinion -- the judicial equivalent of "talk to the hand." She upheld the city's race discrimination against white and Hispanic firemen on the grounds that the test had a "disparate impact" on blacks, meaning that it failed to promote some magical percentage of blacks.
This strict quota regime was dressed up by the city -- and by Sotomayor's opinion -- as a reasonable reaction to the threat of lawsuits by blacks who were not promoted.
That's a complicated way of saying: Racial quotas are peachy.
According to Sotomayor, any test that gets the numbers wrong -- whatever "wrong" means in any given context of professions, populations, applicants, workers, etc. -- is grounds for a lawsuit, which in turn, is grounds for an employer to engage in race discrimination against disfavored racial groups, such as white men.
Consequently, the only legal avenue available to employers under Sotomayor's ruling is always to impose strict racial quotas in making hiring and promotion decisions.
Say, if the threat of a lawsuit permits the government to ignore the Constitution, can pro-lifers get New Haven to shut down all abortion clinics by threatening to sue them? There's no question but that abortion clinics have a "disparate impact" on black babies.
This week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 for the white and Hispanic firefighters, overturning Sotomayor's endorsement of racial quotas.
But all nine justices rejected Sotomayor's holding that different test results alone give the government a green light to engage in race discrimination. Even Justice Ginsburg's opinion for the dissent clearly stated that "an employer could not cast aside a selection method based on a statistical disparity alone."
Indeed, the dissenters argued that the case should be returned to the lower courts to look for some hidden racial bias in the test. For Sotomayor, the results alone proved racial bias.
The one advantage Sotomayor's talk-to-the-hand opinion has over Justice Ginsburg's prolix dissent is that brevity prevented Sotomayor from having to explain why quotas aren't quotas.
That was left to Ginsburg.
Liberals desperately want race quotas -- as long as quotas never come to their offices.