ADL: Fair Housing Act an “Important Tool to Eradicate Housing Discrimination”

New York, NY, November 4, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has joined a friend of the court brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing that discrimination in housing, even when it is not intentional, violates the  Fair Housing Act.

The brief emphasizes the importance of protecting against discrimination and eliminating the barriers to housing that still exist.

“We know that the Fair Housing Act is an important tool to eradicate housing discrimination and promote more inclusive neighborhoods,” said Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director.  “The brief in this case continues our longstanding tradition of advocacy in the courts to secure justice and fair treatment to all.  ADL’s very first brief in the United States Supreme Court, the landmark 1948 case Shelley v Kraemer, addressed this same issue of discrimination in housing.”

Mount Holly Township, New Jersey has a plan that would demolish existing homes where predominantly low-income residents live and replace those homes with significantly more expensive housing units.  The neighborhood group says that the plan discriminates because it disproportionately affects African-American and Latino residents. The Mount Holly case will answer the question whether the Fair Housing Act prohibits not just intentional bigotry but also practices that disproportionately exclude or harm people based on race, ethnicity, religion, family status, or other characteristics covered by the Fair Housing Act. The issue affects a range of transactions involving real estate and applies to banks and mortgage companies as well as governments, such as the one involved in this case.

ADL joined with The Opportunity Agenda, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, The Asian Americans Advancing Justice –Asian Law Caucus, The Asian Americans Advancing Justice –Chicago, and The Asian Americans Advancing Justice –Los Angeles in a coalition brief in this case.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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