America’s third largest party Tuesday criticized President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, citing past rulings that public employers should discriminate in hiring based on race.
“While Judge Sotomayor deserves a fair and impartial hearing, Supreme Court justices should be nominated for their thorough knowledge of and adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law,” said William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee Chairman.
“By nominating Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama has made it clear he prefers an activist for his personal causes over a rational interpreter of law,” said Redpath.
According to Cato Institute Vice President for Legal Affairs Roger Pilon, Sotomayor is “the most radical of all the frequently mentioned candidates before him.”
Sotomayor is best known for the Ricci v. DeStafano case, in which the New Haven, Conn. fire department decided it didn’t like the results of an officers promotion exam in which whites and Hispanic firefighters outperformed black firefighters. The city threw out the results of the exam, denying several firefighters promotions solely because of their race. The firefighters sued the city, claiming racial discrimination under Title VVI of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Cato Institute, Reason Foundation and the Individual Rights Foundations filed briefs on behalf of the firefighters, citing the absurdity of allowing public employers to throw out the results of valid, race-neutral exams that produce racial disparity because the racial disparity produced wasn’t politically correct. The firefighters and the libertarian foundations filing briefs argued that public employment practices should be color-blind.
Sotomayor disagreed, ruling the city has a right to discriminate against white and Hispanic public employees to construct a politically correct racial mix in hiring, even if it goes against the results of a racially-neutral competency exam.
The case is now before the Supreme Court. Sotomayor has had her rulings thrown out by the court a troubling four times. In three of those cases, the Court ruled Sotomayor had incorrectly interpreted the law.
“It is troubling that Obama, who won the highest elected office in the world without racial preferences, would nominate someone who openly admits the government should racially discriminate against its own citizens to serve the needs of political correctness,” said Redpath.
“Libertarians believe that, while the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of association allows private parties to hire whomever they please, government has no right to discriminate. Public employers should treat all citizens of all colors, races and ethnicities with equal respect and value and Sotomayor’s radical rulings are a jarring departure from that principle.”
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