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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments today in a case examining whether housing policies that have a disproportionate discriminatory impact on racial minorities, women, and other groups violate the anti-discrimination provision of the federal Fair Housing Act.
The law, passed in 1968, prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. Every appeals court has interpreted the act as prohibiting policies that have a discriminatory impact, regardless of whether those practices were adopted with a discriminatory intent.
The ACLU filed an amicus brief in this case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, arguing that a discriminatory impact standard is consistent with congressional intent and necessary to address current issues such as predatory lending and discrimination against domestic violence victims.
Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Program, said:
The Fair Housing Act and its full scope of protections remain essential to combating the ongoing discrimination in housing and lending that plague our country. A bipartisan Congress passed this law because it recognized that housing discrimination and segregation were scourges upon this country. Effects of this discrimination are still acutely felt in communities across America. The problem has not been eradicated and we continue to need all the tools to fight it.