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ERIC Number: ED536275
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
The Law of Unintended Consequences Revisited: The Case of Ricci v. DeStefano
Vedder, Richard; Denhart, Matthew; Malesick, Michael; Templeton, Jordan
Center for College Affordability and Productivity (NJ1)
Deciding it necessary to review the earlier ruling of the Second Circuit court, on January 9, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case "Ricci v. DeStefano." The case originates from New Haven, Connecticut where a group of firefighters argue that city officials violated their Title VII rights by dismissing the results of tests they had taken for consideration in job promotion. After reviewing the results city officials feared that they had unintentionally created a disparate racial impact, as those of white backgrounds tended to outperform other racial groups. Consequently, they threw out the test results believing it necessary so as to not violate the Supreme Court precedent put forth in "Griggs v. Duke Power." The 1971 "Griggs v. Duke Power" decision ruled that employment tests that created a disparate racial impact violated Title VII provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Furthermore, the Supreme Court declared that a specific intent to discriminate was not necessary in order to find a particular test in violation. Rather, any test that had even unintentionally created a disparate impact based on race was outlawed. In "Ricci v. DeStefano," the plaintiffs argue that the proposition put forward under "Griggs" is flawed. The main question for the Court will be whether a municipal government can legitimately decline certification of test results for promotion that would disproportionately enhance the chance for promotion among whites. While the outcome will certainly have enormous economic implications, this brief paper explores the impact of "Griggs" on higher education since the 1971 decision and argues that an affirmation of "Griggs" in the forthcoming "Ricci" case would actually exacerbate the problem of growing inequalities between racial groups in America. (Contains 7 figures and 25 footnotes.)
Center for College Affordability and Productivity. 1055 Thomas Jefferson Street NW Suite L 26, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-621-0536; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP)
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut; United States