/PRNewswire/ -- With the U.S. Supreme Court dealing a stinging blow to race-based employment practices, members of the Project 21 black leadership network are praising the Ricci v. DeStefano decision as a step toward removing the racial trappings of a by-gone era and putting all Americans on equal footing.
"It was clear to this Court that barring people from promotion because of the color of their skin is wrong. The only downside is that four justices still cling to an outmoded and discriminatory line of thought," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "True equality allows people to rise and fall on their merits. That's what this decision protects. How can one oppose such fairness?"
In a 5-4 decision, the Court reversed the lower court ruling, barring the use of race as the sole factor in promotions. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "Fear of litigation alone cannot justify the City's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions."
The decision also casts serious doubt on the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. She was a member of the appeals court panel that issued the one-paragraph opinion overturned today. Now, she must explain to senators how she could be so much at odds with her potential future colleagues.
"Justice is supposed to be blind, but the opinion she joined in the Ricci case - now overturned by the Supreme Court - shows Sonia Sotomayor believes justice should be based on ethnicity," added Project 21's Massie. "Her ruling in Ricci is an unambiguous example of her placing her feelings and personal prejudices above what the law dictates or allows."