Supreme Court Rules Against New Haven in Firefighters’ Case:

I’m guessing some of the Conspirators will have more to say about this, once we get to read the opinions. The vote was 5-4, along the standard lines. My quick take is that if the four liberal Justices were willing to vote with the city on this one, it suggests that there is virtually no form of “benign” race-based decisionmaking by the state that they believe is unconstitutional.

UPDATE: I see co-blogger Jonathan beat me to it. The opinion can be found here.

FURTHER UPDATE: The case was decided purely on Title VII grounds, not based on the Fourteenth Amendment. Oddly enough, the dissenters also only discuss Title VII, even though the firefighters raised Fourteenth Amendment claims, too. The majority had no reason to discuss constitutional claims once they disposed of the case based on statute, but the dissent should have explained why the Fourteenth Amendment didn’t help the plaintiffs, even if the answer would be “we think the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VII create the exact same standard.” This is especially so given that both opinions rely so heavily on whether black firefighters could have had a valid statutory discrimination claim if the test results had not been thrown out, which might provide a defense under Title VII but not the Fourteenth Amendment.