Monday, June 29, 2009

Ricci wins

A reason to celebrate:
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a group of white firefighters in Connecticut were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision endorsed by high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
It was something of a mantra aimed at those on the disaffected right during Bush's 2004 re-election campaign that while he may have disappointed with regards to illegal immigration, unrestrained spending, promises of a humble foreign policy, ad nauseum, his upcoming, long-lasting contribution to the composition of the Supreme Court necessitated their support for the 43rd President.

As today's ruling makes me prouder than any other handed down during my adult lifetime, it's difficult not to feel as though the argument had merit. But a GOP-controlled Senate, not a Republican President, has been the sure thing in the Ricci ruling. The following table shows which party held the White House and which controlled Congress during the confirmation of the nine current Justices (technically eight now, I suppose):

JusticeStart datePresidencySenateFavored Ricci?
StevensDec '75RepublicanDemocraticNo
SouterOct '90RepublicanDemocraticNo
GinsburgAug '93DemocraticDemocraticNo
BreyerAug '94DemocraticDemocraticNo
ScaliaSep '86RepublicanRepublicanYes
KennedyFeb '88RepublicanDemocraticYes
ThomasOct '91RepublicanDemocraticYes
RobertsSep '05RepublicanRepublicanYes
AlitoJan '06RepublicanRepublicanYes

Not surprisingly, current Democratic dominance of both the Executive and Legislative branches produced a nominee and likely future Justice who sided against Ricci.


OneSTDV said...

There's been talk of the cursory nature of Sotomayor's initial decision. I believe it was all of 3 paragraphs while yesterday's decision took up about 100 pages. That the decision was overturned says nothing significant about her qualifications. That she would go about the decision (a potentially law-altering one that ultimately led to the SCOTUS) in such a perfunctory manner is telling.

If you're interested, I wrote about the media's view of this decision at my blog:

Billare said...

Interesting observation:

When I googled "Ricci vs. DeStefano" just about a month ago, Steve Sailer's article "The Obama Administration Backs Anti-White Discrimination..." was on the second or third page, thereabouts. Yesterday, it was the fourth result on the first page of the search, and today, it is the second result of the first page.

I wonder how his readership is doing, somebody should ask him.

Audacious Epigone said...


I'm aware of your post--I read all of them.

Re: her qualifications, there are countless more informed sources than myself for that, but that the appointment of a Justice by a Democratic President and Democratically-controlled Senate would inevitably mean a vote against Ricci is not surprising in the least.


As I'm of the opinion that Steve is the most underappreciated intellectuals in the country, I do check his sitemeter from time to time. I last looked around two months ago, and he was running a little over 5k a day. This week, he's at 6.5k, with a big spike yesterday (Monday), probably a result of the Court's Ricci decision.

Anonymous said...

The real decision that must be overturned is Griggs vs Duke Power. This is the concept of disparate impact and it's implicit guilt, and as long as this stays in place, employers and government agencies will simply rig tests to ensure the results that they wish.

This is done with a simple pass/fail written exam - which virtually everyone passes - and then promotions are awarded based on a series of subjective criteria, race of course being the most critical.

But anyway, good for Ricci and I hope that it's only the first step in dismantling this this affirmative action fiasco.

Chris said...

AE, I'd think most of Steve's traffic recently probably goes directly to his blogspot site, rather than

Billare, I just tried Googling "Ricci vs. DeStefano," both with and without quotes, and didn't see Steve on the first two pages of results.

Strangely, the number one Google blog search result for "Ricci vs. DeStefano" was for some site ( that appears to get very little traffic and only an occasional comment. It's run by some leftwing freakshow in Oakland called Applied Research Center that is funded by George Soros. Kind of creepy, isn't it.

Blode0322 said...

Indeed the Duke Power case is a cancer of justice. That it was passed unanimously is a sign of how ideologically damaged the Burger Court was.

Billare said...

Yeah, I misspoke. It should be "Ricci v. DeStefano", ergo, what you would put into Google if you just copied & pasted the case from an another text.

And Griggs was not a "cancer of justice". Have some fucking sense of scope. When those justices ruled, 1.) the IQ research was not the firm validation that it rests on now, and 2.) clearly, in some cases, for example literacy tests and poll taxes, governmental and private authorities had used unrelated tests with clear discriminatory motive to turn away Blacks.

The ruling shouldn't much matter to you anyway. The whole usefulness of the IQ concept is that scores on one g-loaded, or "cognitively"-loaded test correlates strongly with scores on all other such tests, not that there are separate domains for separate mental abilities or jobs. At least, that's the simple explanation. Thus, if you're fighting for Whites and their rights or what have you, the exception to Griggs, the "relatedness" criterion, is immaterial.

Audacious Epigone said...


The sitemeter picks up direct hits even though the sitemeter page makes it appear as though only visits are counted. Try the link to his blogspot from my sidebar and then look under "recent visitors" and you'll see your URL.

Anonymous said...

All should heed the words of Justice Ginsberg. This isn't even close to being over.

Blode0322 said...

The fundamentals of psychometrics were established quite well before Duke Power.

Given that g-loaded tests correlate well with each other, and are important for performance in virtually all jobs, a ban on one is a ban on all of them. The tests that Duke Power allowed, up until the Ricci could not have disparate impact, which means they could not be significantly g-loaded.

This is self-evident. What is perhaps less evident is that Duke Power ushered in a new era of broadly-accepted anti-intellectual bigotry. Of course, no one who hasn't notice the scope of anti-intellectual bigotry is going to notice Duke Power's role in creating it.

Billare said...

The fundamentals of psychometrics were established quite well before Duke Power.

Oh indeed, that was so. And what of longitudinal studies that gauge the long term malleability of IQ? Could such knowledge be possibly relevant to a demographic that had just emerged from the throes of Jim Crow and inferior segregated schools? I suppose the understanding of IQ as a "mental age" during that period was also at the technical forefront of the science. If asked in 1971, I wonder who might have told me what IQ measured, what it meant, and who could have disputed my claim that it was anything other than a ghost of the statistics.

Given that g-loaded tests correlate well with each other, and are important for performance in virtually all jobs, a ban on one is a ban on all of them.

Perhaps you ought to familiarize yourself with the decision, kindly available here on Wikipedia.

Now, according to said source, in Griggs the Court held that:

"under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, if such tests disparately impact ethnic minority groups, [then] businesses must demonstrate that such tests are 'reasonably related' to the job for which the test is required."

Now, I suppose one could reasonably construe such an exception, as given by the conditional, using words such as "ban" and "all"; but, at least to my limited understanding, I would personally choose to be slightly more discriminating in my language.

What is perhaps less evident is that Duke Power ushered in a new era of broadly-accepted anti-intellectual bigotry.

You don't say. What inestimable peers those Justices must have been, to be not only held responsible for the proper curation of the Law, but of Science as well!

But let's take off our deontological hats for a moment and examine the decision from a strictly consequentialist, social, perspective.

We know the following from the research: IQ tests are the best pre-screening method employers possess; and g-loaded tests better correlate with and fully describe each individual test-taker's full range of cognitive ability at lower levels of g.

Such testing would be cheap and efficient, so, for example, it wouldn't be at all implausible for McDonald's to give IQ tests to hand out its jobs for fry-cooks.

Yet when some racially heterogeneous cohort undergoes that mentalist sorting, I doubt very much that the swarthier peoples who are continually left behind will be able to rationalize their reliable failures on what they consider to be ridiculous arcana. How could Raven's Progressive Matrices possibly judge an ability to perform a job they believe themselves perfectly capable of performing?

I suggest they would be driven to anger, despair, and incitement. I also suggest that even those genetically endowed enough to understand the science behind such procedures would be similarly moved. None of this good for social harmony, and my analysis doesn't really change either if one construes the cohort's differences intra-racially!

It is much more sensible to use tests where people can understand why exactly they failed or succeeded. That is, tests which can be justified on a "job necessity" basis, that test for job-relevant material. It was for this specific reason that the public reaction in the Ricci case was so outsized in comparison to similar pablum that is regularly promoted regarding SAT testing.

"Let's see those culturally biased tests!"

There are legitimate critiques of the decision, but you certainly haven't advanced them here, and on net, I believe the criterion advanced by Griggs to be a fair trade-off between the societal values of egalitarianism and efficiency.

Anonymous said...

There are many aspects of the Griggs vs Duke Power that a simple Wikipedia search will not reveal.

No one is suggesting that tests specifically designed to discriminate on the basis of race or sex is valid or fair. Instead, Griggs vs Duke Power has been used to invalidate any test that has adverse impact, regardless of the validity of the particular test.

Government agencies and businesses cannot afford to spend the kind of money to go to court, hire all the psychometric experts and thus validate a test that has adverse impact. Instead, it is simply easier to rig tests to produce certain results or to do away with any objective criteria to make promotions.

I see this kind of mentality in challenges to the SAT, LSAT, etc. UC Berkeley is always trying to devise a scheme to legitimately reject top scoring Asian Americans who dominate such much of the admissions here in the California. In local government, valid (job related ) tests, which almost always results in adverse impact, are being replaced by an the old spoils system with race and cronyism at its core.

Billare, perhaps you need to study the issues a little more deeply before spouting off with such a facile opinion and realize that perhaps we're not the bad guys here.