Supreme Court to Hear White Firefighters' Case on Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court hears arguments today in a Connecticut firefighters' civil rights case that has the potential to change hiring practices nationwide.

The court will weigh whether New Haven's decision to scrap a promotion exam because too few minorities passed violates the civil rights of top-scoring white applicants.

The discrimination lawsuit was brought by 20 white firefighters — one also is Hispanic.

The city argues going ahead with the promotions based on the test results would have risked a lawsuit claiming the exams had a "disparate impact" on minorities.

A federal appeals court in New York upheld a lower court ruling dismissing the lawsuit.

Business interests worry that a decision in favor of the firefighters would force employers to choose whether to face lawsuits from disgruntled white or minority workers.

The court also issues decisions today.