TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS V. THE INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES PROJECT (U.S. SUPREME COURT, 2014)

The case focused on Dallas, Texas, where the State of Texas approved the construction of affordable housing along racial lines. Over a period of years, a Texas housing agency reinforced residential segregation by consistently approving affordable housing in African American neighborhoods instead of fairly distributing that housing across all communities to promote integration. The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed a key provision of the Fair Housing Act. Enacted in the wake of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s tragic assassination in 1968, the Fair Housing Act is our nation's key tool to eradicate housing discrimination and promote more inclusive neighborhoods. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project case raised the question whether the Fair Housing Act prohibits not just intentional bigotry but also unjustified practices that disproportionately exclude or harm people based on race, ethnicity, religion, family status, or other characteristics covered by the Act. This principle, known as the "disparate impact" standard, has been the law of the land for over four decades. In fact, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued regulations that again confirm this approach. ADL joined an amicus brief filed on behalf of a coalition of organizations. The brief provided evidence (based in caselaw and social science) supporting the arguments that segregation continues to generate grave social harms; that conversely, integration conveys benefits that accrue both to individuals and to society as a whole; and that disparate impact claims are a fundamental tool in making progress toward integration.