Today the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling, in a discrimination case.  Seems that the city of New Haven had done everything they could to make a fireman’s test fair, but the promotable outcome seems like there were more white firefighters than black firefighters.  Now this wasn’t anything to do with the color of the firefighters – this was purely the results of a test.  A bunch of people took the test and when the city looked at who they could promote based on those results, it was mostly white guys.

So New Haven, in its infinite wisdom, decided not to promote anybody, because it would be discrimination to promote the people who did better on the test (read: white guys).  In fact, New Haven was trying to avoid a lawsuit, but they didn’t think of the white guys filing a reverse discrimination lawsuit.  As it worked its way up toward the Supreme Court, it landed in front of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, she of rich experiences, in an appeals court.  She ruled against the white guys.  The Supreme Court today overruled her, which I think is sorta neat – no free pass for the next justice.

This blog entry is not about all that.

Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, was quoted in a New York Times article:

Judge Sotomayor and the lower court panel did what judges are supposed to do, they followed precedent.

This was not some off-the-cuff remark.  It was not taken out of context.  It’s from the middle of a press release.  And Mr. Leahy seems to be saying that “precedent” (I keep thinking of Tevye singing “Tradition!”) carries more weight than law.  Well, no, Mr. Leahy.  Judges apply the law, and they can do it in the light of precedent, but the law reigns supreme.

And I’m thinking – really, really thinking – that Mr. Leahy would be more at home in California than in slightly-less-liberal Vermont.

And he can drop off the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream as he goes by.

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