With the Supreme Court ruling in favor of 20 New Haven firefighters in their reverse discrimination lawsuit, it has many people and politicians wanting to know what this will mean for affirmative action.
However, President Barack Obama says he's never believed that affirmative action is as much of an issue as it's been made out to be.
The city of New Haven and Mayor John DeStefano threw out firefighters’ test results because no minorities scored high enough for a promotion. That, the city expressed, would leave them open for discrimination lawsuits from black firefighters.
Obama said the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of white firefighters who were denied promotion, was a "very narrow" case, and that it's "hard to gauge" where the court will go next on the issue.
He says it hasn't been as "potent a force for racial progress" as its supporters have said, and that it hasn't been as bad for white students or job applicants as its critics say.
In an Associated Press interview Thursday, Obama said affirmative action can be made an "afterthought" when problems such as malnutrition, poverty and substandard schools are dealt with, and "everybody has a level playing field."
Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's choice to replace the retiring Justice Souter, was part of a three-judge panel that originally rejected an appeal by the group of New Haven firefighters.