Former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot decided to bring the Disparate Impact rules of the Obama Fair Housing Administration to the Supreme Court. Justices accepted the case.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs versus Inclusive Communities Project (IPC) is a housing discrimination case which began in 2008, and will be heard by the Justices in June 2015. The Obama administration has been particularly aggressive and finalized new rules in 2013 stating that the Fair Housing Act covers disparate-impact claims. Disparate Impact is one of the lefts most potent weapons, and already entrenched in employment law.
President Lyndon Johnson and Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr. led a campaign that urged current Federal law which prohibits housing discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, familial status, disability or gender. These laws are administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Fair Housing and Economic Opportunity (FHEO); headed by President Obama appointees.
Disparate Outcome Housing rules state that lending practices can be deemed illegal after the fact. When there has been no intent to discriminate, if statistics conclude that race neutral actions eventually harmed racial minorities with some adverse impact, it becomes illegal discrimination. It is an important component of the left’s battle plan.
Racism and discrimination has been defined as irrational behavior against someone based on the color of their skin, their ethnic background, religion, gender, or sexual preference. This has changed. Now it is used to drag builders and governments into litigation over after the fact statistics.
The Obama administration worked to prevent the Supreme Court from deciding Disparate Impact cases. In one case the Justice Department‘s Tom Perez (now Secretary of Labor) gave up a monetary claim against Saint Paul, Minnesota and agreed to drop the claim before the Supreme Court was set to make a decision. In another, a George Soros back group bought off opposing parties to settle.
Coalitions of liberal organizations battle to protect Housing Disparate Impact laws. Representatives from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The National Fair Housing Alliance, and the American Civil Liberties Union held a media round table to stress the importance of Disparate Impact law. Their slant was that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Texas, America will return to pre 1968 housing segregation. They claim Disparate Impact is a safeguard in the housing market for minorities, and use the minority victim card to trump facts.
Low income housing tax credits are distributed by state housing authorities to housing developers. The Texas Department of Housing granted more tax credits to developments in minority areas than in Caucasian neighborhoods. In Dallas minorities moved into this affordable new and safe housing. These new neighborhoods disproportionately increased minority residents. HUD believes this was discriminatory after the fact. Banks and mortgage companies argue that federal housing laws should punish only intentional acts of discrimination, not after the event statistics.
Benefits to minorities that had lived in some of Dallas poorest neighborhoods and now enjoy living in these new, safe communities will take a back seat to race and ethnicity. According to Disparate Impact activists, societal problems, the lack of learning, lack of job skills and employment, lack of family structure are caused by discrimination; intended or not. The real goal of this campaign is to impose a system where equal outcome is guaranteed; regardless of effort or circumstances. The playing field will be leveled after the game is over, and the score will be a tie.
If Texas wins the case before the Supreme Court, subsidies to developers of low income government assisted housing in poor minority areas can continue without fear of discrimination lawsuits. If the ICP wins developers can decide not to build in these areas, or figure out ways to build low cost housing in affluent areas.
Probability is that Supreme Court Justices Kagan, Sotomayer and Ginsburg will lock step against Texas. Scalia, Thomas, and Alito will likely vote against Disparate Outcome. Taking either side could include Breyer, Kennedy and Roberts. Upholding Disparate Outcome rules will chill government subsidized low income home building.
If Texas is successful, it will remove a legal tactic of the Obama Administration. Governor Perry, Governor Abbot, banks and mortgage companies believe the Supreme Court will favor Texas; voting that federal housing laws should only punish intentional acts of discrimination.
We might think of this as a Clint Eastwood western, or a Greek Morality play as the Supreme Court decides.
Darlene Casella was before retirement an English teacher, a stockbroker, and president/owner of a small corporation. She lives in La Quinta, California and can be reached at email@example.com
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