Paul Bass file photo

When the U.S. Supreme Court hears a New Haven firefighters’ race discrimination case next month, the future of one of the nation’s key civil rights laws may hang in the balance.

The case stems from one of the most contentious legal, political and racial disputes to roil New Haven in recent years. Yet both sides in Ricci v. DeStefano agree on one thing: The suit, which the U.S. Supreme Court will hear next month, goes to the heart of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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