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Washington Unplugged: Firefighters Decision Examined

On Monday's installment of "Washington Unplugged," Matthew Colangelo of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said the Supreme Court decision today that white firefighters were unfairly denied promotions because of their race "doesn't say anything about" Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, because the justices effectively created a new rule in crafting their decision. Sotomayor ruled in the opposite direction as an appeals court justice.

"We're disappointed that a narrow majority of the Supreme Court has essentially announced a brand new rule – that makes it harder for employers to eradicate discrimination in their workplaces," he said. Still, he noted that the "narrow" ruling still "emphasizes that employers have a continuing obligation to make sure that their employment practices are fair to all of their employees."

Michael Rosman of the Center For Individual Rights noted that Justice Antonin Scalia suggested in his opinion that "there may come a time in the future where the entire disparate impact regime under Title VII will be called into question under the equal protection clause of the Constitution." Title VII is a portion of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits most workplace discrimination. Scalia was alone in making the suggestion.

Watch the entire episode, which includes a debrief from CBS News Supreme Court Correspondent Wyatt Andrews and is hosted by John Dickerson, above.

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