On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project Inc. The Supreme Court has previously attempted twice to hear cases reaching the question of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act, in Magner v. Gallagher and Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, and in both instances the cases were settled less than a month before oral arguments. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to “refuse to sell or rent . . . or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race.” Do policies that can be demonstrated to have a discriminatory effect on certain racial groups, without a showing of discriminatory intent, violate the statute?
- Hon. Todd F. Gaziano, Executive Director, Washington, D.C. Center and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Law, Pacific Legal Foundation