WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law President and Executive Director Kristen Clarke issued the following statement in response to the nomination of Dr. Benjamin Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development:
“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is tasked with promoting fair housing and creating affordable and inclusive communities. The actions of the department have immense consequences for communities of color and for renters, homeowners, and communities across the country generally. Whoever leads HUD must have relevant experience and a strong commitment to ensuring that all Americans have meaningful access to decent, safe, and affordable housing.
We are deeply concerned by the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Carson lacks any experience in housing policy or community development. Moreover, he has no experience running an executive agency or serving in government. Last month, he even noted that he would be like a ‘fish out of water’ if he were to join the cabinet. This raises serious questions about his qualifications for the position of HUD Secretary.
Dr. Carson’s record also raises serious concerns about his commitment to fair housing. He has criticized the Supreme Court’s landmark decision affirming that disparate impact claims may be brought under the Fair Housing Act. He has expressed opposition to HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which requires communities to take proactive measures to overcome the legacy of residential segregation, referring to it as ‘mandated social-engineering.’ Last year, he outrageously criticized a HUD agreement resolving a fair housing complaint as indicative of ‘what you see in communist countries.’ This demonstrates why Dr. Carson must be made to explain his vision for HUD and how he would approach the critical task of enforcing the nation’s fair housing laws.
Our country has made enormous progress in breaking down barriers to fair housing, but there is still much more work that needs to be done. HUD plays a vitally important role in fighting housing discrimination and strengthening communities. At this critical time in our nation, we must have a HUD secretary who will support full and robust enforcement of the Fair Housing Act and foster equitable housing development. Ben Carson is not suited for these important tasks.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Formed over 50 years ago, we continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and community development; employment; voting; education; and criminal justice. For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.