Supreme Court Upholds Fair Housing Act

On June 25 the Supreme Court affirmed the Fair Housing Act, which was passed in 1968 to combat housing discrimination by holding that the law allows not only claims for intentional discrimination but also claims that cover practices have a discriminatory effect even if they were not motivated by an intent to discriminate.

Civil rights advocates say such “disparate impact” claims are essential to combat subtle instances of discrimination, but some companies, developers and housing authorities say they cost time and money investigating actions made with good intentions. “Housing authorities and developers are not able to make the same kind of decisions to develop affordable housing if they have to consider the effects of where they are developing and how the money is invested in housing,” said an attorney who filed a brief in the case on behalf of the Houston Housing Authority.

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