Affirms “Disparate Impact” in
Fair Housing Cases
On June 25, 2105, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that a housing policy that has a disparate impact on a group may serve as the basis of a discrimination claim under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), even if there is no evidence of intent to discriminate.
The ruling affirms this “disparate impact” interpretation of the 1968 law and favors the plaintiff in the case Texas Department of Housing v. Inclusive Communities Project, in which a Texas nonprofit, Inclusive Communities Project, claimed Texas’s practice of disproportionately granting housing tax credits to developers in impoverished, predominantly minority neighborhoods had a discriminatory effect.
Under the disparate impact interpretation recognized by the court, Inclusive Communities Project had no burden of proving discriminatory intent to claim the practice was discriminatory.
“Recognition of disparate-impact claims is consistent with the FHA’s central purpose” of ending discriminatory practices in housing.
“These unlawful practices include zoning laws and other housing restrictions that function unfairly to exclude minorities from certain neighborhoods without any sufficient justification.”
The justices wrote.
Click here to read the opinion.