The highest court in Massachusetts has ruled that a lawsuit by minority police officers can move forward on the claim that a promotional exam discriminates against black and Hispanic officers.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Friday that a Superior Court judge incorrectly dismissed the officers' claim that the state had interfered with their right to be free of racial discrimination in opportunities for promotion.

The SJC ruled that that claim can move forward, but said two other claims were properly dismissed.

The officers allege that the state engaged in racial discrimination through the creation, design and administration of a multiple-choice exam for police seeking promotion to sergeant. They said that because of the exam's discriminatory impact, black and Hispanic officers were ranked lower on a list used by municipalities to make promotional decisions.