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Judge Rules That Police Can Bar High I.Q. Scores 260

Posted by timothy
from the breaking-the-curve dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test. Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected." Update: 04/16 22:01 GMT by T : Mea culpa. This story slipped through; consider it a time-machine / late-April Fool's day joke, please.
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Judge Rules That Police Can Bar High I.Q. Scores

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  • Seriously... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2011 @05:48PM (#35843146)

    Published: September 09, 1999

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Slashdot is usually slow, but this is just ridiculous.

    • by writermike (57327)

      If I haven't seen it, it's new to me! :D

    • You might find this interesting [politicalbyline.com], too.
    • It's a glitch in the Matrix. Among other reasons, it can happen when they republish something [slashdot.org].

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      In other news the plaintiff died of prostate cancer last year, the police department in question no longer exists, and the judge who ruled on this case quit his job and became a spokesman for the gay rights movement. Wtf - only 12 years... did they even have internet back then?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JohnRoss1968 (574825)

      Apparently Slashdot has the same policy.
      j/k

    • Yes, but it is always interesting to see news from just before the Moon got blasted out of its orbit.

  • First class people choose first class people; second class people choose fourth class people; third class people choose ninth class people; and so on; and so on.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      And politicians - where do they fit in?

    • by causality (777677) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @07:16PM (#35843764)

      First class people choose first class people; second class people choose fourth class people; third class people choose ninth class people; and so on; and so on.

      It's a failure of the moderation system that I need to scroll past a dozen irrelevant comments about the article's date before I find one that addresses the actual topic. Anyway...

      Not only are you right about this, but the logic the judge used was quite faulty and I can trivially demonstrate why:

      Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected.

      Using that logic, they could discriminate racially or on religious grounds. "Anyone who scored too black was rejected" or "anyone who scored too Muslim was rejected". I mean hey, they apply that standard to everyone so it surely could not contradict the principles of equal protection. That's why this is absurd.

      I'll never understand what it is about a law degree and a bench that fundamentally distorts someone's ability to use solid logic. If I can see the flaw in seconds couldn't this judge maybe think on it a bit before committing it to a ruling that will affect a man's life?

      It's as though the judge had a personal objection to having high-IQ police officers and was looking for an excuse to disallow them.

      • Re:Not unexpected... (Score:5, Informative)

        by arkenian (1560563) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @07:54PM (#35843940)

        Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected.

        Using that logic, they could discriminate racially or on religious grounds. "Anyone who scored too black was rejected" or "anyone who scored too Muslim was rejected". I mean hey, they apply that standard to everyone so it surely could not contradict the principles of equal protection. That's why this is absurd.

        I'll never understand what it is about a law degree and a bench that fundamentally distorts someone's ability to use solid logic. If I can see the flaw in seconds couldn't this judge maybe think on it a bit before committing it to a ruling that will affect a man's life?

        It's as though the judge had a personal objection to having high-IQ police officers and was looking for an excuse to disallow them.

        So I actually went and looked up the original judgement and appellate judgement on this because it was so weird. The actual argument the HR department made was that smart people would quit quickly and they chose less smart people so they wouldn't get bored being a patroller. The Court determined that they had reached this decision on a rational basis (while noting that the truth of this was beyond the scope of the Court's right to decide, for a variety of reasons) and that since they were applying the policy evenly, there was no grounds for the officer to complain.

        • by omfgnosis (963606)

          Uh. "applying the policy evenly" is exactly the same insane logic. You can't apply a discriminatory policy evenly. If this is defensible, then so are minimum-IQ poll tests.

      • by billcopc (196330)

        Of course he'd want to disallow them. Smart cops are nothing but trouble for the dumb ones, messing up the scams and challenging idiotic practices and policies. Or, if you're a cynical left-wing pseudo-anarchist wacko like myself, you could say that it's a waste of a brain, since a smart cop is just as (in)effective as any other. If your IQ is so high as to be notable, you should be doing something more intellectual with your life. Like making sandwiches (really freakin' awesome sandwiches!)

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      First class people choose first class people

      And the people at the very bottom believe everything they read, no matter how ridiculous, and then comment about it before finding out it was a bogus story.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Well no not really. In Canada if a university grad applies they're nearly an automatic hire here for policing. That's part of the problem we're facing actually. University grads, in general smart with no life experience.

      Terrible combination, when you consider that it's life experience and understanding a person is well the main point of policing here.

  • Holy Old Story! (Score:5, Informative)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Saturday April 16, 2011 @05:49PM (#35843158) Homepage Journal
    Anyone pay attention to the first line?

    Published: September 09, 1999

    This happened almost twelve years ago...

    • Re:Holy Old Story! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by The End Of Days (1243248) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @05:51PM (#35843184)

      Awww now I miss the the stupid things the government did before 9/11 turned them into wholesale Constitution tramplers.

      • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Saturday April 16, 2011 @06:23PM (#35843490) Homepage Journal

        Awww now I miss the the stupid things the government did before 9/11 turned them into wholesale Constitution tramplers.

        You're new here, I see - or at least newer than me. Let me clue you in on something; slashdot is a pro-conservative site.

        If you want to be up-modded, just praise Bush, Reagan, and all the greatness that came immediately after 9/11, when the government was working in your best interest. Further, calling the current POTUS the great socialist satan will accomplish similar results. You are daring to suggest that what happened immediately after 9/11 might not have been done with everyone's best interests in mind - prepare to be moderated "troll".

        • by causality (777677)

          The politicians who call themselves "conservative"... I'd like to know what they are conserving. Certainly it isn't tax money or political power.

          The old answer to this question was along the lines of, "well, a 'conservative' is someone who doesn't want to rock the boat, doesn't want to make any sudden or drastic changes to society"... to that I'd say that the way government has become much larger and more authoritarian during my lifetime alone, or since 9/11 alone, represents a drastic and sudden departure

          • by xero314 (722674)

            Note that all I want is a smaller and less powerful government that doesn't try to protect me from every perceived threat, doesn't try to manage my life for me, doesn't try to separate me from the consequences of my decision-making.

            I have an idea. Since people want very different things, we could break up the country into smaller autonomous regions that could regulate themselves. This way if a group of people want to allow gay marriage for example, they could move to a region that supports gay marriage, but it wouldn't mean that all the other regions had to.

            And since each of these regions would be to small to be able to defend themselves from larger more powerful governments, and so the people of these regions could interact and

        • by ildon (413912)

          Why must you be so cruel to the newbies.

    • Re:Holy Old Story! (Score:5, Informative)

      by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerteNO@SPAMdrunksnipers.com> on Saturday April 16, 2011 @05:54PM (#35843216) Homepage

      This is just in: Napoleon died.

    • by zill (1690130)
      Slashdot bars people with high I.Q. scores from becoming editors apparently. Unfortunately the bar was set a little too low.
    • by ElMiguel (117685)

      I'm thinking 9/9/99 isn't the article's real date.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        Please stand on your head, it will read 6/6/66.

      • I'm thinking 9/9/99 isn't the article's real date.

        Well, it turns out that day did happen in history; I tend to remember it fairly well for reasons that aren't important here. Although it is interesting numerically...

        Nonetheless, it does read "New York Times Archives", so even if the date may be wrong it is not likely a recent story.

    • Re:Holy Old Story! (Score:4, Informative)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday April 16, 2011 @06:14PM (#35843412) Homepage Journal

      He was subsequently invited to apply to the San Fransisco [sfgate.com] force.

      Anybody know if he wound up there? Apparently a mayor has the same name, so it's hard to search.

    • by identity0 (77976)

      Anyone else remember this guy getting on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno back in '99 and thought "Wait, has the case dragged on for this long?"

      Indeed, I was going to add that "It's a bit before my time", but then I realized that I was on Slashdot back then, too. Way to make me feel old, Slashdot. :(

  • by Nick_13ro (1099641) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @05:50PM (#35843166)
    Next I propose they develop a skin pigmentation test. Those with too much skin pigmentation, too colored let's say, are to be barred from the police force. Naturally this would also be ok since the same standard was applied to everyone, right ?
    • I'm going to invoke Godwin's Law here. The Nazi's applied the same standard to everyone they sent to the camps too....

    • by pavon (30274)

      To be fair, the correct interpretation of "equal protection under the law" has been a matter of confusion since the day the 14th Amendment was passed. In your particular case however, there is additional law that states that race is one of the protected classes [wikipedia.org] that cannot be discriminated against in nearly any circumstance. So the courts would cite that, and punt on the constitutional issue.

  • In other news, they won't hire anyone who's too black, or too female, or ... or ...

    Applying a standard as such across the board without legitimate reasons is completely wrong. There are some legitimate reasons. Hiring a quadriplegic, a blind man, or a deaf mute to patrol may not be quite the right choice. They could be considered for equivalent (pay and status) positions. Refusing people because they are too smart, too strong, or too ... well ... any favorable trait, is in

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      no, actually, today, it's the opposite. it's ok to ban someone for being too white, too male, or too straight because the activism has built up assumptions that this group doesn't ever need any protection. The irony here is that the activism has been so strong that it's actually causing a discriminatory backwash. piecemeal discrimination protection like this is the root of the problem. The law says people are not to be discriminated based on race, gender, or lifestyle, but the enforcement of these laws is

      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        it's ok to ban someone for being too white, too male, or too straight


        bull. fucking. shit.
        • by epyT-R (613989)

          discrimination knows no social boundaries. all we've done is normalized the bigotry of certain groups as some kind of 'balance' against the bigotry of others. this solves nothing.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I think the issue is as you put it that the standards have to be reasonable. It is typically legal to refuse to hire somebody that is overly qualified, which sucks, but unless the applicant can prove it was something else that is protected by law, there is no right to a job just by virtue of being the best qualified candidate.

  • by kittylyst (1467097) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @05:53PM (#35843200)
    Well, as it's old news, here's an old joke to go with it: "Why do policemen always go around in threes? One that can read, one that can write, and one to keep an eye on the two dangerous intellectuals."
  • It's likely just a way for them to avoid an age-discrimination lawsuit. Law enforcement, like the military, generally doesn't recruit new people past their early to mid 30s. If he's new, by the time he'd hit 20 years on the force, he'd be staring down 70 (he's 48, according to TFA).

  • Good thing he didn't get the job. Because Mr Jordan then went on to write a series of very successful fantasy novels, gaining fame and legions of devoted Rand-Fans world wide. ALl this before his sad and untimely passing.

  • Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @05:58PM (#35843266)

    Timothy you are an idiot.

    I take it slashdot uses the same policy.

  • Scientist discovers that sun doesn't move around the earth after all.

    Retro-slashdot.

    • by zill (1690130)

      Scientist discovers that sun doesn't move around the earth after all.

      When object A revolves around object B, object B is also revolving around object A by definition.

      The disproved geocentric model [wikipedia.org] incorrectly proposes that all objects in the universe revolve around the Earth. In actuality, only the Moon and the Sun revolve around Earth.

  • Okay, as others pointed out... this story is 12 years old. But a larger issue is that the story is strictly a report of the legal ruling - it doesn't even touch on the (likely) flawed reasoning behind New London's policy. I realize Slashdotters tend to pride themselves on not reading the articles (or, often, even the submissions) - but even if this story were current, it'd be hard to have an intelligent discussion / discourse / debate over this without more information.

  • For oldest necro post--13 years?

    • by jd (1658)

      Not even close. Far, far older stories have been published as new on Slashdot over the years. Mind you, it's still impressive.

  • if they could apply the same reasoning to require a minimum serum testosterone level. Or maybe a maximum level of integumental melanin. After all, the same test applies to everyone.
  • was dumb cops that will just blindly follow orders without conscience, someone smart enough to use critical thinking would probably get other officers, and government officials in to trouble.
  • Here's a quick tip. If the header at the top of the page for TFA says Archives, take a second look before posting the story.
  • by asackett (161377) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @07:12PM (#35843748) Homepage

    FWIW, way back when this story was news instead of history I asked my county's Sheriff about the rationale behind this kind of thing. He explained it thusly:

    "Suppose you're an officer and you're called to a convenience store robbery. When you arrive, you find the clerk on the floor has been shot and will certainly die if you don't render aid immediately. Meanwhile, you see the robber escaping in your neighbor's car so you know it's stolen. This fits the MO of an armed robber who's been in the region for a few weeks, never strikes in the same town twice, and always kills the clerks he robs. There are no witnesses. If you render aid to the fallen clerk the criminal will escape and will almost certainly kill again, but if you pursue the criminal the clerk will certainly die and you may not succeed in apprehending the criminal anyway. What do you do?"

    I immediately responded that I'd pursue the criminal. He went on to explain:

    "It's not really important which option you choose because in the end some innocent is going to die. What's important is that you quickly choose a response and follow it through to the end. The rationale behind not hiring those of exceptional intelligence is that they'll waste time thinking through their options hoping to find the optimal solution when there really isn't one instead of just springing into action."

    It's horribly flawed logic, but that's the general consensus among law enforcement so it's self-reinforcing. You can't promote thinking leaders from within a force that doesn't include thinking officers.

    • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @07:33PM (#35843840)

      I know the sheriff was trying to give an example of a dilemma that's likely to come up in police work, but the example he chose seems like a no-brainer, with a very clear right and wrong answer. You call in a description of your neighbor's car so other officers can look for it, then help the clerk. He'll probably be able to ID the robber or at least provide some solid clues in the event the suspect escapes the dragnet, but he can't do that if he's dead.

      If you let the clerk die and fail to catch the suspect, you're no better off than you were before, and you have one more stiff in the morgue. Even if you do catch the robber, the dead clerk will still haunt your whole department, in the form of bad press and lawsuits.

      One option will be second-guessed endlessly regardless of the final outcome, and the other will make you look like a hero, or at least someone who tried to help.

      What's important is that you quickly choose a response and follow it through to the end.

      Reminds me of a recent case in Seattle, where a roid-raging berserker with a badge emptied his Glock into a bum who was whittling with a pocket knife, after giving him four seconds to "comply." Somebody forgot to tell him that Robocop was not a training film.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Reminds me of a recent case in Seattle, where a roid-raging berserker with a badge emptied his Glock into a bum who was whittling with a pocket knife, after giving him four seconds to "comply." Somebody forgot to tell him that Robocop was not a training film.

        You're thinking of the murder of John T. Williams:

        http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012784234_copshooting02m.html

        He was a 50 year-old local totem / wood-carver with a history of alcohol abuse and troubles with his hearing. Shot for crossing the street while whittling a block of wood.

    • by PPH (736903)

      It's not really important which option you choose because in the end some innocent is going to die.

      Follow the criminal, let the clerk die. If the criminal gets away, there's a high probability that many more (not just the one) will die. There's a snap decision. From a member of Mensa.

      But that's not the true rationale. The real reason is that city councils need people who will go out and follow orders without question. Bust the rat bastard dealing cocaine in the neighborhood bar. Leave the mayor's nephew (dealing cocaine in the local high school) the hell alone. If you can't see why this is wrong, you're

      • Follow the criminal, let the clerk die. If the criminal gets away, there's a high probability that many more (not just the one) will die. There's a snap decision. From a member of Mensa.

        Mensa must be slipping...

        The clerk is somebody who is 100% sure to die if you don't help him. The criminal could be caught before he kills again. You radio in the description of the car, as another poster mentioned. Even if they don't catch him then, there's always the possibility that when he tries to rob another store, somebody overpowers him, and he's arrested. Yes, other people might die if he escapes, and that might even be likely. The only thing you know for certain is that the clerk will die if

        • by PPH (736903)

          The clerk is somebody who is 100% sure to die if you don't help him.

          And probably die if I do try to help. I'm not an EMT and there's not much even an EMT can do for a fatal gunshot wound other than transport to an ER fast.

          The criminal could be caught before he kills again.

          That's what I'm trained to do. Apprehend criminals.

        • by asackett (161377)

          Thanks for being the one who caught my point: The rationale is bullshit because smart people confronted by unfolding emergencies are no more likely to be frozen by indecision than average people. The question is intended solely to gauge the speed of the response, not the right or wrong of it.

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