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Appellate Oral Argument in Chicago Firefighters’ Discrimination Case on Remand From LDF’s Supreme Court Victory

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3/25/11

(New York, New York) – On Tuesday March 29th oral argument will be presented before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Lewis v. Chicago, the ongoing litigation to secure justice for over 6,000 African-American firefighter applicants unfairly denied jobs with the Chicago Fire Department.

The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) successfully defended the firefighter applicants in the Supreme Court.  The Court of Appeals has agreed to decide two narrow legal questions left open by the Supreme Court.  In these proceedings, Chicago is continuing to resist righting the injustice committed against the African-American firefighter applicants.  Instead, the City is trying to rehash arguments that it either already lost or that were waived because the City did not make them at earlier stages of the litigation.

“The City of Chicago received a stunning and unanimous rebuke in the Supreme Court last Spring, and our African-American clients -- long ready to serve their city -- have been illegally denied that opportunity for over a decade.  We hope that this will be the final chapter in this long court battle, as justice demands,” said John Payton, LDF’s Director-Counsel who argued the case in the Supreme Court. 

“LDF’s aims to achieve a broad remedy for the discrimination experienced by the African-American firefighter applicants,” said LDF assistant counsel Josh Civin.  “Beyond the immediate results in Chicago, this case will help ensure that no other fire department or employer utilizes a discriminatory test in a way that unjustifiably eliminates fully qualified applicants of any race.”

LDF has litigated the case with co-counsel that include the Chicago Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc., three Chicago law firms (Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C., Robinson, Curley & Clayton, P.C., and Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick & Dym, Ltd.), and two solo practitioners who are also former LDF staff attorneys Bridget Arimond and Patrick Patterson (now a senior counsel to the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).  LDF co-counsel Paul Strauss of the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. will present oral argument in the Court of Appeals. 

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ABOUT LDF

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is America's premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. LDF also defends the gains and protections won over the past 70 years of civil rights struggle and works to improve the quality and diversity of judicial and executive appointments.