This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of a class of over 6,000 qualified African-American firefighter applicants who were unfairly denied the opportunity to work for the Chicago Fire Department. Last Spring, after over a decade of litigation, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and co-counsel won a unanimous victory for the African-American firefighter applicants in the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals’ decisiontoday, also unanimous, decisively rejected Chicago’s attempt to evade that Supreme Court ruling.
“After many years fighting for justice, our African-American clients will finally have a fair chance to serve their City,” said John Payton, LDF’s Director-Counsel who argued the case in the Supreme Court. “The only remaining step is speedy implementation of a robust remedy for this long-standing injustice. The City of Chicago will be better for it. And beyond the immediate results in Chicago, this case will help ensure that no other fire department or employer utilizes a discriminatory test to unjustifiably eliminate fully qualified applicants of any race.”