A ruling against New York City’s Fire Department in March by U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis, sitting in the Eastern District of New York, is still reverberating, setting off new demonstrations last week.
Garaufis, who joined the court in 2000 after being nominated by then-President Bill Clinton, ruled that the fire department had to pay back wages of $128,696,803 to firefighters in a racial discrimination case.
According to the New York Times, the new demonstration of opposition, which played out over four days in federal court, underscored the degree to which Garaufis has emerged as the most prominent and provocative figure in the city’s most contentious integration battle in decades.
Critics have dubbed him “Emperor Garaufis” and accused him of being a publicity-seeking liberal crusader whose imposition of racial quotas has jeopardized public safety. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has called for his removal from the case.
Since then, Garaufis, 64, has become a relentless critic of the Fire Department, unafraid to use the considerable powers of the bench to advance his notions of racial justice.