PFAW Statement on Frank Ricci Discrimination Cases

People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement:

"Much has been made about the selection of Frank Ricci to testify at the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

"Frank Ricci is being portrayed by conservatives as a prime example of so-called "reverse discrimination." But Ricci himself got his firefighting job in New Haven by claiming discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects Americans from discrimination over disabilities.

"I don't think Mr. Ricci thought that his being hired was a case of reverse discrimination against those who weren't disabled. But you can't have it both ways; these laws can't be good when you use them to protect yourself and bad when they're used to protect someone else.

"The Right is trying to make this into an issue about what kind of person Frank Ricci is — that totally misses the point. This is about the important role that employment discrimination laws play for all Americans — and the Right's use of loaded terms like "reverse discrimination" to attack Judge Sotomayor.

"In the Ricci case, Judge Sotomayor applied the law, and a majority of federal judges who have reviewed this issue agreed with her thinking. It's clear that Judge Sotomayor's decision in the Ricci case was the result of restraint and a proper adherence to precedent."

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