As Justice Alito's concurring opinion in Ricci documented in amusing detail, Frank Ricci and colleagues were the victims of blatant racial discrimination by a black power broker and his allied white mayor in New Haven.
Stanford Law Professor Richard Thompson Ford says, that, well, equal protection of the laws isn't the point of civil rights legislation. Sure, the laws include a lot of colorblind rhetoric, but the whole point is to benefit blacks at the expense of whites, so it's a dirty trick for the Supreme Court to read the laws and the Constitution literally and apply them evenhandedly. He writes in Slate:
The plaintiffs in Ricci were undoubtedly sympathetic: hardworking public servants—17 of them white, one Hispanic—who expected that the exam they studied for and did well on would determine their eligibility for moving up the ranks. But their legal argument is the latest in a long-standing campaign to turn civil rights laws against themselves. There's a striking progression in the attacks on civil rights. In the early 1970s, affirmative action was widely considered to be a logical extension of civil rights principles: Even President Nixon—a man not known for his enlightened racial attitudes—supported it. But by the end of the decade, affirmative action was under attack as reverse discrimination. And now we see the next step in the march against civil rights with the part of federal civil rights law—Title VII—called "disparate impact" that prohibits employers from using promotional or hiring procedures that screen out minorities unless they can prove that the procedure is closely job-related