The Supreme Court Walks a Fine Line on Race

As the Supreme Court rules in favor of disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act, segregation remains.

News Story Alana Semuels
Atlantic, The
June 25, 2015
Full story

Tags: Disparate Impact, Housing: Discrimination, Housing: Landlord-Tenant, U.S. Supreme Court

Organizations mentioned/involved: Impact Center for Public Interest Law (NY), Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (TxLIHIS)


But the court isn’t blind to the effects that decades of discrimination have had on minorities in this country, as became evident Thursday in its 5-4 decision upholding the “disparate-impact” standard of the Fair Housing Act. That standard allows groups to challenge policies that adversely affect minorities, that, for instance, segregate them in high-poverty, high-crime areas of town. Discrimination doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful, the court found.

The case was brought by a Dallas-area non-profit, the Inclusive Communities Project, who argued that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Development had approved housing projects predominantly in high-poverty, minority neighborhoods, a policy that had a “disparate impact” on minorities.