City | 1:28 pm | July 9, 2009 | By Zeke Miller

Two firefighters, Law School professor to testify at Sotomayor confirmation hearing

Updated 3:36 p.m. Two New Haven firefighters and a Yale Law School professor will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor LAW ’79 to the Supreme Court, the committee announced today.

The professor, Kate Stith, who served as the Law School’s acting dean this year, will be called by the committee’s Democrats, while the two firefighters, Frank Ricci and Ben Vargas, will be summoned by the panel’s Republicans.

Ricci and Vargas were among the 20 plaintiffs who claimed in the Ricci v. DeStefano reverse discrimination case that they had been denied promotion because of their race. Last week, Supreme Court ruled in their favor, reversing a decision that had been upheld by Sotomayor as an appellate judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (of which Stith’s husband, Jose Cabranes LAW ’65, is also a member).

Erica Chabot, the press secretary for Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, confirmed in an e-mail message that the two firefighters will be called to testify. Chabot said they had been placed on the witness list by Republican members of the committee. (The committee has since released the full list of witnesses; it is available here.)

Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing begins Monday. An aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the committee’s ranking member, said it was not yet certain when the two firefighters would appear before the committee, but that it would not be before the middle of next week.

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