26 June 2015

Yesterday, the Supreme Court Issued Another Important Opinion

Specifically, in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project the Supreme Court allowed disparate impact to continue to be considered in fair housing lawsuits:
Civil rights groups are breathing a little easier today, after the Court’s ruling in an important housing discrimination case. The question before the Court was whether claims brought under the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination “because of” race, can be based on an allegation that a law or practice has a “disparate impact” – that is, it has a discriminatory effect, even if it wasn’t motivated by an intent to discriminate. The distinction matters because it’s rare for a lawmaker, landlord, or developer to admit that a law or practice is intended to be discriminatory; civil rights groups believe that disparate-impact claims are an important tool to ferret out more subtle examples of housing discrimination.
I expected the court to go the other way, which would have made pursuing issues in housing discrimination nearly impossible.

As an aside, I believe that this also would also make it easier to pursue disparate impact challenges under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which, after the Supreme Court gutted section 5 a few years back, is the most effective portion of the law.


Stephen Montsaroff said...

This was probably the most really, long term, important ruling so far.

Matthew Saroff said...

Agreed, particularly as it applies to chapter 2 of the VRA, which cannot function without disparate impact suits.

Post a Comment