WASHINGTON, D.C., January 21, 2015 – Following today’s Supreme Court oral arguments in a historic housing discrimination case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) issues the following statement:
“Today, the Justices examined the question of whether victims of housing discrimination can prove that their rights were violated through evidence of the unjustified discriminatory effects of policies to which they were subjected,” said Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. “In order to achieve Congress’s goals and realize Dr. King’s dream, it is critical that the Supreme Court retain the long-recognized disparate impact standard used for more than four decades to address widespread discrimination in housing and upheld by 11 federal appellate courts. As we continue to affirm the need for racial equality in our country, including fair housing, the landmark Fair Housing Act must prevail in combatting systemic residential segregation.”
“Historically marginalized communities bear the brunt of a long history of intentional and adverse impacts of racially discriminatory policies that caused residential racial segregation,” said Lawyers’ Committee Fair Housing and Community Development Co-Director Joseph D. Rich. “The Fair Housing Act is essential in remediating that unconscionable legacy.”
The Lawyers’ Committee submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case, which was joined by a broad coalition of civil rights organizations. The brief highlighted the harms that marginalized communities experience as a result of residential racial segregation and the importance of the disparate impact standard to remedying those injuries.