Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Supreme Court’s Decision In Texas Dept. Of Housing And Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project

[The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Thursday that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) authorizes a plaintiff to show that she was discriminated against based on a showing of “disparate impact.”  The FHA prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.  Every circuit court that has ruled on this issue has interpreted the statute to allow for a showing of discrimination based on disparate impact, which is an allegation that a law or practice has a discriminatory effect, even if it isn’t based on a discriminatory purpose.  The Supreme Court’s ruling today comports with every circuit court to have ruled on this issue.]

“I applaud today’s Supreme Court ruling that disparate impact claims will continue to be allowed under the Fair Housing Act.  This decision reflects what Congress intended decades ago when we passed the Fair Housing Act.  It is a sad reality that discrimination still exists in our country and that Americans need the powerful antidiscrimination protection of our civil rights laws.  Today the Court recognized that Congress designed these laws to apply to actions with a discriminatory effect, not just a discriminatory purpose.   

“Housing is one of the most basic of human needs, and today’s ruling will continue to allow the Fair Housing Act to serve as a safeguard against impermissible discrimination based an individual’s race or ethnicity.”

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