A municipality can’t use race-based transfers to integrate fire companies that were never intentionally segregated, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 18.

The judges invalidated the city of Newark, N.J.’s transfers of 34 firefighters, saying, “Racial balancing, and that is what this is, simply cannot be achieved by means of a racial classification without running afoul of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.”