Oral argument set in NYC building superintendents' case

After an unusually long delay in setting a date for oral argument in CIR’s long-running school building superintendents’ case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has finally set one: February 1, 2010. In this case CIR is challenging an instance of intergovernmental collaboration — a joint project of the federal government and the New York City schools to discriminate against a class of superintendents based on their race and sex.

On the first, the court will hear arguments and ask questions of lawyers for the United States, John Brennan and other school superintendents (represented by CIR), and two other sets of intervenors represented, respectively, by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU. At issue is the propriety of an agreement the United States and New York City made to give “retroactive seniority” to a group of minority superintendents. Even though the members of this group already had benefited from a ferocious program of race discrimination in their favor by the City, the joint US-NYC agreement expressly discriminates in their favor yet again. It also harms other minority, and white, superintendents who had been hired the old-fashioned way, by passing a race-blind civil service test.

Given the importance of the case — due to its potential to expand the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, the New Haven firefighters’ case — CIR General Counsel Michael Rosman will be traveling to New York to conduct the argument personally.