Victory! Supreme Court Upholds Key Protections of Fair Housing Act

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June 25, 2015
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Karen Loewy

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits not only intentional housing discrimination, but those housing decisions that have a “disparate impact” on a vulnerable population.

In December 2014, Lambda Legal joined an amicus brief authored by AARP Foundation Litigation emphasizing how disparate impact theories have been critical in protecting people with disabilities, seniors, and families with children from the discriminatory effects of housing policies. Today the Court confirmed that disparate impact claims are a key tool in addressing residential segregation and fulfill the purposes of our nation’s housing discrimination protections. 

The ruling today in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project reaffirmed decades of legal precedent interpreting the Fair Housing Act to include disparate impact claims, ensuring their continued application to unearth and eradicate housing practices that unfairly exclude minorities. These kinds of implicit and explicit barriers to housing dramatically affect minority populations, including older LGBT people and people living with HIV, as well as LGBT families with children. 

Following the decision, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney and Seniors Program Strategist Karen L. Loewy released the following statement:

This important ruling from the Supreme Court clearly recognizes that unequal access to housing remains a grave concern across the country. Lambda Legal has been consistently committed to ensuring that non-discrimination protections are comprehensively applied to address housing disparities experienced by the diverse individuals and families in the communities we serve. The Court’s ruling acknowledges the entrenched nature of policies that perpetuate housing segregation, and the importance of disparate impact claims in addressing them. The Fair Housing Act remains a robust civil rights protection, expanding equal housing opportunity across the country. We were proud to stand for LGBT people and people living with HIV and to stand shoulder to shoulder with other civil rights advocates fighting for fairness and the elimination of discrimination for all.

Read the press release.