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Landmark Supreme Court Case
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015).
In this landmark Supreme Court case, the justices held that a disparate impact claim is cognizable under the FHA in a 5-4 decision. While discriminatory intent was always cognizable under the FHA, the question in this case was whether disparate impacts were also cognizable under the FHA. Delivered by Justice Kennedy, the opinion discussed segregated housing patterns, and the history of the FHA and its Amendments at length. Justice Kennedy spoke of the two major antidiscrimination statutes that preceded the FHA: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. He then analyzed precedent cases set by these statutes, and how those precedent cases instructed the courts to include disparate impact causes of action under these statutes. This same logic was applied to the FHA, accepting disparate impact claims for this antidiscrimination statute as well.
Oral Arguments and Briefs
Oral arguments for Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project; made January 21, 2015
The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Amicus Brief - supporting respondents
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (NAACP LDF), filed this Amicus Brief, alleging that the disparate impact standard is a vital part of the advancement of civil rights, specifically in achieving equal housing rights. The NAACP LDF also argued that housing discrimination has a negative ripple effect on social mobility and the populations that are segregated by housing discrimination.
Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs, et al.
American Civil Rights Union Amicus Brief - supporting petitioners
The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) filed this Amicus Brief, alleging that the plain text of the FHA only prohibits intentional discrimination. In addition, the ACRU argued that utilizing the disparate impact cause of action under the FHA would prohibit some of the necessary precautions that are made when deciding housing qualifications.
Analyses and Discussions of the Case
Legal Information Institute Supreme Court Bulletin
The LII Supreme Court Bulletin lays out the issues presented in the landmark Supreme Court case, the background facts and discussion of the issues at hand, as well as an analysis of the effect of precedent that this case might set forth. This also provides a brief section of the legislative history of the FHA.
SCOTUSblog Coverage of the Case
The SCOTUS blog contains the transcript of oral arguments, recorded oral arguments, the holding and judgment of the case, various symposia and analyses covering the predominant issue in the case, as well as the Amicus Briefs and respondent/petitioner briefs throughout the timeline of the case.
Rigel C. Oliveri, Disparate Impact and Integration: With TDHCA v. Inclusive Communities The Supreme Court Retains An Uneasy Status Quo, 24 J. Affordable Housing & Community Dev. L. 267 (2015).
This law review article provides an analysis of two major Supreme Court cases before the Texas Dept. case, an analysis of the Texas case itself, and a discussion of the Supreme Court's decision along with possible ramifications.
Fair Housing Act — Disparate Impact and Racial Equality — Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 129 Harv. L. Rev. 321 (2015).
This law review article discusses how the case made its way to the Supreme Court, and discusses the opinion at length. The article details the majority's analysis, including a desire to eradicate housing discrimination patterns, and describing the two methods in which disparate impact liability serves the FHA's purpose.