08/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Reading the Pictures: Reaching the High Court on the Backs of White Heroes


Talk about wedge tactics.

Take a look at this line of New Haven firefighters filing into the Sotomayor confirmation hearings Wednesday morning. (If you don't know the backstory, the Supremes recently overturned Sotomayor's New Haven decision, the court asserting white firefighters, led by the litigious Frank Ricci, were unfairly treated by the tossing out of a promotion exam minority test-takers did comparatively worse on.)

With the glow firefighters continue to carry from 9/11, this line of primarily white "first responders" makes for a vivid non-verbal argument that Sonia is stepping up to the high court on the backs of these white heroes. And then, the message is reinforced, if just by chance, with the further scene of Sotomayor talking to a group of black servicemen forming a wall between her and the New Haven contingent.

From some of my readers at BAGnewsNotes:

Hmmmm. I wonder who paid their expenses? Are they "on duty". (dada)

The pictures of long lines of people waiting to get seats in the hearing room suggest that it's first come, first served. But the New Haven firefighters appear to be taking seats that were reserved for them. Yes, Ricci is going to testify, but how did the eight others get reserved seats? Did they bump the queue? (DennisQ)

Notice, by the way, that Ricci himself remains tucked in the background. (He's against the wall just to the left of what looks like the red-haired guy.)

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(image: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images. July 15, 2009, Senate Judiciary Committee. Capitol Hill. Washington, DC. )