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Court To Rule On Race Discrimination Case

It's Justice David Souter's last day on the Supreme Court and he'll be ruling on a case familiar to the woman nominated to replace him.

It's a reverse discrimination case filed by white firefighters in New Haven, Conn. They argued they were discriminated against when the city tossed out the results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough on it.

Sonia Sotomayor, who's been nominated to take Souter's seat, was one of three appeals court judges who ruled that New Haven officials acted properly.

That's one of the cases the high court is dealing with before justices begin their summer break.

Souter, who's from New Hampshire, said he'd retire when the court rises for the summer recess. He was named to the court in 1990.

Highlights of the three remaining cases the Supreme Court is expected to decide Monday at its last public session until October:

  • Reverse discrimination: White firefighters in New Haven, Conn., claim they were discriminated against when the city tossed out the results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough. The city says it acted because it might have been vulnerable to claims that the exam had a "disparate impact" on minorities in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The white firefighters said the decision violated the same law's prohibition on intentional discrimination.
  • Anti-Hillary movie: The court must decide whether a scathing 90-minute documentary about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was made by a conservative group when she was running for the Democratic presidential nomination should be regulated as a campaign ad. Citizens United, the conservative not-for-profit group that made the movie, wanted to air television ads in important Democratic primary states and make the movie available to cable subscribers on demand, without complying with federal campaign finance law. The Federal Elections Commission and federal judges in Washington said the movie is subject to campaign finance restrictions.
  • Investigating lending discrimination: A fight between the states and the federal government over who gets to investigate national banks. The Obama administration says federal law prohibits states from looking at the lending practices of those banks, even under state anti-discrimination laws. Federal courts have so far blocked an investigation begun by New York, which is backed by the other 49 states, of whether minorities were being charged higher interest rates on home mortgage loans by national banks with branches in New York.
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