Regulations

Supreme Court rules against Texas housing agency on unintended discrimination

Court's 'disparate impact' ruling shows discrimination need not be intentional to be illegal

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The U.S. Supreme Court held the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs liable for improperly allocating low-income housing tax credits to communities already heavily populated by minorities, citing unintentional discrimination through disparate impact. The 5-4 decision made on June 25 upholds the disparate impact, a legal theory that holds persons accountable under the Fair Housing Act -- whether or not they intended to discriminate. This ruling sets a precedent for the act to protect against not only intentional discrimination but also practices that may have an unjust impact on the lives of minorities. “Today is another important step in the long march toward fulfilling one of our nation’s founding ideals: equal opportunity for all Americans," said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro, in a statement. "The Supreme Court has made it clear that HUD can continue to use this critical tool to eliminate the unfair...