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"New York to the DOJ: Hands Off Our Fire Department"

At City Journal, Heather Mac Donald says Mayor Bloomberg and city lawyers are right to resist the federal government's demand that simple questions assessing comprehension of written material be dropped from tests because of their disparate racial impact on applicants:

Perhaps every attorney who brought this suit, from the DOJ to the Center for Constitutional Rights, can sign up for a plan whereby the firemen protecting his home and business can�t process basic written information. The rest of us can have a fire-fighting force that stands a chance of being able to perform the job adequately. The idea that all you need in fire-fighting today is a pair of strong arms is fanciful (and of course even that requirement has been lifted to get women into firehouses). The memory of September 11 should remind the Justice Department that firemen need knowledge of hazardous materials and of complex evacuation procedures; not only are the technologies for fighting fires becoming more sophisticated, but emergency medical responses depend on the capacity to learn from written material.

More on legal challenges to firefighter testing here.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.