Welcome to Washington, Mr. Ricci:

Senate Republicans opted to call New Haven firefighters Frank Ricci and Ben Vargas to testify at Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings in order to score political points against Judge Sotomayor over the issue of affirmative action. Now Judge Sotomayor’s advocates are seeking to take Frank Ricci down a notch so as to blunt any effect of his testimony. McClatchy reports:

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 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.

Last night, Slate posted “Fire Proof,” an article by Dahlia Lithwick detailing Frank Ricci’s litigious past.

UPDATE: Here’s an NYT profile of the other firefighter testifying, Lt. Ben Vargas.

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