Here's the best summary of the arguments on appeal:
Argument Preview: Ricci v. DeStefano | SCOTUSblog
Basically, the Fire Department tested candidates in order to determine promotions. Based on scores along, all of the open positions would have gone to whites and hispanics. The Fire Department got nervous about this, as they were worried about getting sued, so they decided not to certify the results of the test. They got sued anyways.
The district court wrote a lengthy opinion that staked out new positions on complex issues. A court of appeals 3-judge panel affirmed with a "summary order," which is basically a way of saying "this is so simple and obvious that it's not worth spending a lot of time talking about." The firefighters asked the entire 2nd Circuit (13 judges) to review the case. Three days before that decision was handed down, the 3-judge panel withdrew their summary order and wrote a short opinion that actually touched on the merits of the case and said that the district court did a great job. In doing so, they made the district court's decision much more important. The circuit decided against reviewing the case as a whole by a vote of 7-6.2)Could you expand on the bolded part please. It went right over my head.