Two New Haven firefighters testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Their case, Ricci v. DeStefano, has figured prominently in Sonia Sotomayor's nomination and confirmation process. It was the first thing her conservative opponents used to attack her, before her actual nomination when she was seen as a frontrunner in President Obama's search. It's part of the narrative that she's racially biased; GOP senators have suggested the opinion offered by the case's three-judge panel (of which Sotomayor was one) wasn't long enough and gave short shrift to the firefighters' complaint; Sotomayor has countered that it wasn't up to her panel to rule for Ricci, that it needed a precedent from the Supreme Court. The fireifighters eventually got it, when the Supreme Court ruled in their favor June 29.
Frank Ricci, a witness for the GOP side of the committee, addressed the hearing today. The firefighters are expected to score some points against Sotomayor for her opposition, but Ricci didn't take direct aim at the nominee--rather the process he went through and the decisions against him along the way.
"Despite the important civil rights and constitutional claims we raised," Ricci said, the decision "consisted of a single paragraph that made mention of my dyslexia...which led many to believe this case was about me" and the learning disability.