Today, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the disparate impact provision in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 is indeed constitutional and is a necessary tool for eliminating housing discrimination. This case did not receive a great deal of attention from the media, but it was one of the most important cases on the Court’s calendar this year.
The Fair Housing Act is one of most important and effective pieces of legislation passed during the Civil Rights Era. The disparate impact provision is a critical legal protection against housing discrimination. Had the Supreme Court sided with the State of Texas, which argued that the disparate impact provision was no longer relevant, it would have likely meant that fair housing policies and statutes across the country would become inexecutable.
NASW applauds the Supreme Court’s decision on Texas v. The Inclusive Communities Project. In casting the deciding vote and writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said “These unlawful practices include zoning laws and other housing restrictions that function unfairly to exclude minorities from certain neighborhoods without any sufficient justification.” With that statement, the Court recognizes that housing discrimination continues to be to occur in America and there is a continued need for protection under the Fair Housing Act.
We also agree with the Court’s statement that “much progress remains to be made in our Nation’s continuing struggle against racial isolation.” NASW remains a staunch advocate for preserving legal protections against all forms of discrimination.