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The Nation

September 15, 1989

Thirty-four white men turned down for firefighting jobs in Boston even though they had perfect scores on a civil service exam sued to force the department to adopt a color-blind hiring policy. Spurred by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision paving the way for such lawsuits, the plaintiffs said they were seeking a court ruling allowing them to be hired. "We're not trying to deprive anybody," said plaintiff Larry Mackin. "We just want the best man to win." Boston has long been under a federal consent decree requiring it to hire one minority for every white to ensure the police and fire departments reflect the city's ethnic makeup. But Mackin said the policy has foiled his efforts for 12 years, and that he has always scored well on the civil service exam.

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