High court affirms 'dark reality' of discrimination, ACLU says after ruling

High court affirms 'dark reality' of discrimination, ACLU says after ruling
© HUD

The American Civil Liberties Union  (ACLU) said Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling in the fair housing case is proof that housing discrimination, regardless of intent, still persists in America.

The court ruled 5-4 that housing discrimination cases can be based on disproportionate "adverse impact" on any group based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status or disability.

ADVERTISEMENT

"This ruling recognizes the stark reality that housing discrimination, regardless of intent, persists for many Americans," Dennis Parker, director of ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, said in a statement.

“This decision retains the essential protections of the Fair Housing Act, meaning the law will continue to serve as an important tool in rooting out pernicious forms of racial segregation and discrimination.”

The case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project Inc., centered on the distribution of low-income housing tax credits in Dallas.

The high court sided with the ICP, which argued that that Texas had violated the 14th Amendment and the Fair Housing Act when it perpetuated segregation by disproportionately approving tax credits for housing projects in minority-centered neighborhoods and disproportionately disapproving tax credits for housing projects in predominately white neighborhoods.

The legal term at issue in the case, known as "disparate impact," has long been controversial. The legal approach considers a practice discriminatory if it has a disproportionately "adverse impact" on any group based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

In practice, that means intent of discrimination does not need to be proven in many cases.