Texas Housing Department of Community Afffairs v. The Inclusive Communites Project.

Posted: March 29, 2015 by beguide in case summaries, Equal Protection, Real Property
Tags: ,

WHAT HAPPENED: The Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs (“the Department”) is a government agency that allocates funding for parties who seek to develop affordable housing for low-income families. The Inclusive Communities Project (“ICP”) is an advocacy group that has contested the Departments grant of funds to parties who do not meet the full spirit of the program. The ICP claims that the Department has given funds to support the development of houses for the highest bracket of poor families, which is presumably easier and more profitable.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT: That is a loaded question if there ever was one. The ICP claims that the Fair Housing Act gives them the right to bring this lawsuit against the Department. The Fair Housing Act was a key facet of the Civil Rights Act which prevent discrimination in housing that was neutral on its face, but discriminatory in practice. This case is before the Supreme Court because Judge Roberts wants to hear this case, and it is presumed that Judge Roberts wants to change the Fair Housing Act and specifically the use of disparate impact in housing discrimination.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS DECISION: The ramifications are significant if the Fair Housing Act is dismantled, as disparate impact is a key tool for stopping discrimination in housing and promoting integration in neighborhoods.   Not only would this affect development of new neighborhoods, but one could speculate that this could affect renting policies, mortgage lending, and other aspects of residency that has previously been governed by the Fair Housing Act and disparate impact.

WHAT WAS THE RULING: No ruling as of yet.

YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES PROJECT IF YOU: believe that the Fair Housing Act is not the policy we deserve, but the policy we need, which is how Harvey Dent described Batman in the Dark Knight.

YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING IF YOU: are not the kind of person who can be rationed or bargained with, but the kind of person who just wants to watch the world burn, which is how Alfred described the Joker in the Dark Knight.

WHO WAS RIGHT: Nazim believed that the circumstances surrounding the Court taking the case made it likely that disparate impact was going to be overruled. Brett believed that was likely, but that the end result would be less of a radical overhaul then was prognosticated.

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  1. […] Texas Housing Department of Community Afffairs v. The Inclusive Communites Project. […]

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