Disparate Impact Back on Supreme Court Docket

For the third time in recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the Fair Housing Act bans discrimination based on disparate impact—that is, practices that have a discriminatory effect on members of a protected class, even if there’s no intentional discrimination. Twice before, the Court agreed to decide on the issue, but the cases were settled before it had a chance to issue a ruling.

The current case is from Texas, where officials were accused of violating fair housing law by disproportionately awarding Housing Credits to developers building properties in areas with high minority concentrations. Texas officials are appealing a court order requiring the agency to change the way it distributes housing resources so that they are spread more uniformly across neighborhoods of various racial makeup. A ruling in the case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) v. Inclusive Communities Project, is expected next spring.

To learn more about disparate impact, including HUD regulations banning practices that have a discriminatory effect on protected classes, see “What You Should Know About HUD’s New Discriminatory Effects Regulations,” available to subscribers here.