Supreme Court Hears Texas Case That Tests Extent of Civil Rights Doctrine

Warren Richey, Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2015

A sharply divided US Supreme Court on Wednesday took up a challenge to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) in an action that liberal critics say could gut the major civil rights provision.

At issue in a case from Dallas, Texas, is whether the housing law authorizes lawsuits over racially neutral measures that nonetheless disproportionately impact minority residents.

Liberals support the so-called disparate impact theory of civil rights enforcement, while conservatives warn that such an approach could lead to racial quotas in housing and other areas.

The case has attracted significant attention, with friend-of-the-court briefs filed by various civil rights groups, 17 states, and 20 cities and counties. On the other side, briefs have been filed by a number of conservative groups and business associations, including insurance companies, banks, finance companies, and home builders.

The FHA prohibits anyone from refusing to sell, rent, or otherwise make unavailable a house or apartment to a person because of their race, religion, or national origin. There is no dispute about this aspect of the law.

After the FHA was enacted in 1968, federal courts and agencies began embracing a broader interpretation of the law’s scope, concluding that, in addition to barring intentional discrimination, the statute also authorizes lawsuits when housing decisions disproportionately harm minority groups.

The case before the high court involves a lawsuit challenging decisions by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in awarding tax credits for low-income housing in Dallas. The Housing Department sought to provide new affordable housing in areas where existing housing was blighted or nonexistent. It sought to do so under race-neutral criteria.

Despite that goal, not everyone was satisfied with the agency’s performance. A Dallas-based group seeking to foster racial integration, the Inclusive Communities Project, sued the Housing Department because it said the agency had failed to provide adequate opportunities for low-income housing in Dallas’ more affluent suburbs.

The suit cited a statistical analysis that showed the agency approved disproportionately more applications for housing in minority neighborhoods than in more affluent white suburbs.

{snip}

A decision is expected by late June.

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  • Christorchaos

    60 years later I imagine the civil rights “doctrine” is a house of cards getting ready to collapse. Hard cases make bad law. Political nonsense makes bad law.

    • Politicization of law also reduces general societal respect for it.

    • Albert

      I was rather hoping that the restless native antics over the past couple of years have rendered the leftist racist agenda into a house of cards already. At the very least, it has pushed a number of people past the point of tolerance.

      • Ace

        Paul Kersey has done a good job of highlighting what happens when cities acquire a large black population. Gradually they turn into crime-ridden wastelands. As the night the day. QED. Adios Camden.

        Once this pattern across the entire nation is pointed out and whites can no longer make the mistake that it’s just a problem in THEIR city, it’s inevitable that whites start to ask the question, Why does this great nation have no defense at all against, not just urban blight, but urban destruction?

        Why do we? A functioning culture would make a common sense mid-course correction, but we INSIST on heading straight to the cliff of destroying all that we’ve built up.

  • Samuel Hathaway

    The whole putrified, rotting corpse of the Civil Rights industry was always a scam, from the word go. I’ll never forget the late Samuel Francis take on the whole stinking mess, that it was couched in terms of “equality and fairness” to garner widespread appeal. But like all revolutionary movements, it quickly moved on to other agendas like “lookism”, “sexism,” and outright discrimination against whites called “diversity iniciatives”.

    • February 15 will already be ten years without him. Imagine the field day he would be having with “transphobia.”

      • Samuel Hathaway

        Sadly, we don’t get Dr. Francis take anymore… he was so young @ 57 to have left this life so soon. He was the college education and the challenge to my own thinking that I had needed for so long. When I think of the mushy-muddleheadedness of FOX and CNN commentators, Dr. Francis wisdom makes them all look like complete, total fools.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      “….First it’s a movement, then a business, then a scam.”

    • Albert

      Back in the days of Martin Luther, he campaigned for equality and color-blindness. We gave them an inch and they took a mile. Today it’s considered racist to be color blind and not enough to provide equal opportunity. I’ll be so happy when we can finally end the preferential treatment and discrimination based on race rather than content of character (or merit).

      • Luca

        They never wanted equality or a level playing field because the “impact” would be that few of them would ever excel or even succeed. They wanted special favors and by golly, the Democrats ran with that in 1965 and haven’t stopped yet.

        • Ace

          Blacks as group just cannot handle school. Attempting to meet any standard is derided as “thinking white.” They think school’s a joke or something alien to be jammed down their throats. Blacks turn schools into jungles that are hostile to any whites unfortunate enough to have to attend with them.

          Blacks attack standardized testing of any kind because they know they can’t compete. Black school administrators in Atlanta had to feed answers to black students to enable them to pass tests.

          Nor can they compete in the classroom. They fail or drop out. But the fault is never theirs. Better teaching methods and more tax money are what they demand. They demand nothing of themselves.

      • MrC

        MLK never wanted equality nor color-blindness. He wanted redistribution of wealth in the form of reparations, affirmative action, and special privileges under the law. He also thought that the overwhelming majority of whites were hopelessly racist. Check out the article that was (re-)run on this site a few days ago about MLK. His public image, which was a lie deliberately cultivated by a sympathetic press, was a far cry from his actual intentions.

    • Raymond Kidwell

      If it was 1960 I would probably get behind the movement to help minorities. The problem is the pendulum had swung so wildly in one direction, trampling the rights of white people. Now the pendulum is starting to come back to center. You might have had some legitimate arguments in the 1900s or even 1960s, today there isn’t any legitimacy to the whole blacks are victims argument (or non-whites in general).

      • Ace

        You’re right. It was initially an experiment, a gesture even, that a decent society was willing to make but we’ve all seen that blacks never got traction but rather slid into the ditch (to continue with the automotive imagery) of dependency, parasitism, family destruction, and eternally nursing resentment and hatred of whites whose productive and peaceful lives were and are an hourly affront.

        NO amount of assistance will ever lift up the black. The late, great Elizabeth Wright knew whites for the fools we are and that only self reliance for blacks would make their lives better. We ended up destroying blacks and they now destroy our cities and plague our lives with out-of-control crime.

        There are blacks I consider to be superior people. They have no reason to resent hearing the truth about lumpen blacks any more than I have to resent hearing about lumpen whites. Trash is trash, regardless of color. And trash, for sure, is any animal who stars in the video of the looting of any store in Fergudishu, hijacking anyone at the bank teller machine, or randomly assaulting unsuspecting whites on the street.

  • Murder being a crime has a disparate impact on black men.

    • Oil Can Harry

      So do school discipline rules banning students from violent threats and misbehavior.

      As a result lefties are going after schools that suspend “too many” blacks.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      The Libs use their standard hypocrisy when implementing “disparate impact”.

      For example, public school teachers are 86% female and easily 4% LGBT. That means maybe 1 in 10 teachers is a hetero male. And that isn’t “disparate impact”. No outcry. Not a peep. Crickets.

      • Raymond Kidwell

        Overwhelmingly black professional athletes who make multi millions of dollars is ok, but mostly white and asian tech guys making $80,000 a year needs to be corrected etc. etc. the examples are endless. Most of this problem goes back to media bias. And if you look at FOX news they might make a really small silly argument, but they really hold back a lot. If they wanted to they could tear apart the liberal press and their anti-white image. So really I think agencies like FOX news are a part of the “spin” as well. It seems that’s one of the reasons they canned Glenn Beck because he was starting to put too much truth into his show. It was all good and fine when he was a raving lunatic but when he started educating people on real things that matter, like central banks, constitution etc. he had to go.

        • AndrewInterrupted

          I’m in tech. I know all about it. Carrying diversity darlings around on your shoulders is the new white man’s burden. Well, not that new.

          Nice to see you again, Raymond. I visited your site once or twice. You were getting aggressively excluded by the Femi-Stasi in the court reporter area, as I remember.

          Cultural Marxists are determined little beasts aren’t they?

          • Raymond Kidwell

            I live the ghetto life and experience the discrimination and oppression. I should be teaching classes about tolerance and privilege rather than Tim Wise.

  • superlloyd

    Disparate impact is a completely nonsensical concept. It should never have seen the light of day.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      “Disparate impact” were the dog whistle words for “quotas”, which have been in existence since SCOTUS: Griggs vs. Duke Power – 1971. I was actually excluded from “…going in-house” at a Duke Power (now called Duke Energy) facility 14 years later, in Clemson, SC, during an especially aggressive demographic (women excluded me, too) “quota” hiring spree. I’ve regularly experienced “reverse discrimination” of that kind ever since.

    • Luca

      Disparate impact basically means there are consequences in life. Liberals do not want consequences applied to their pets.

      • Wing-nut.

        And themselves.

    • Georgia Boy

      It seems to me this is the whole purpose behind the concept of race as a social construct. If there are no biological differences other than skin and hair, then there is no difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. Inequality of outcome would be ipso facto proof of systemic racism, and more must be given to blacks.

      This strikes me as more a white liberal cause than a black one. Blacks want more of the wealth pie, but aren’t necessarily integrationist. It’s liberals who want us to all live together.

  • Dindu Nuffins

    Affirmative action reflects the federal government’s realization that Obama’s sons aren’t capable of competing academically or professionally without preferential treatment.

    • Yancy Derringer

      That would be its raison d’être, yes.

  • dd121

    The notion of “disparate impact” is completely alien to western thought and law.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      Yes, it’s egalitarian in nature.

      • dd121

        It’s a completely alien notion, thought up by leftist, for the benefit of people who can’t possibly compete with other humans, straight up.

      • Yancy Derringer

        Its so-called remedies are unfairly punitive in nature, too.

      • It is “egalitarian” only in the attempt to produce equal outcomes, rather than equal opportunity.

        Let’s suppose I am back in high school again, mowing lawns during a summer. One of my classmates, N’DeShitavious does the same. I save my earnings, while my business rival starts smoking marijuana. I get more work done, as he’s too messed up each night to start mowing lawns early mornings. I get more business, and save still more money. Meanwhile, he misses work appointments on lawns, I get those jobs by word of mouth because I show up when I’m supposed to, and N’DeShitavious smokes more weed.

        At the end of that summer, I have saved enough to buy a used Honda CIVIC station wagon, in which the rear seats fold forward to fit a lawnmower, while N’DeShitavious has a serious drug problem.

        The libtards would say that’s unfair, not because of the power of free decision N’DeShitavious and I each possessed and exercised, but because of the results.

        • Ace

          Very good.

  • The Verdict of History

    Say what you will about Roberts, I believe that his credentials on the race question are exceptional.

    He curbed the Voting Rights act, is preparing to strike down affirmative action, and is acting out on the disparate impact issue.

    • connorhus

      Well he better. His “it’s a tax” dodge and fake was simply spineless. Scalia should just beat him up in the locker room or something.

      • LHathaway

        lol.

    • BloodofAlbion75

      Unfortunately for us and the U.S. Constitution,Roberts was unwilling to muster the same fortitude in his handling of–and eventual capitulation to–Obamacare that he is apparently willing to display in his stand against the shaky and crumbling foundation of the so-called “Civil Rights” movement.

  • dave

    Affirmative action is special rights for blacks and other protected groups. Affirmative action =black privilege

  • IstvanIN

    I believe that government should treat everyone by one set of rules but that private businesses and individuals should be allowed to discriminate, to me it is freedom of association. That being said if anti-discrimination laws are both constitutional and a general public good how can anyone say the laws or rules applied evenly but have different outcomes for different demographics be unjust or unfair? One plus one equals two regardless of who does or does not understand the concept. The whole concept that life must be fair and equal at all times is insane because it is an impossibility.

    NJ’s state police went under Federal monitoring because it was alledged that the troopers were pulling over blacks for speeding more than anyone else and were simply targeting blacks. Every demographic exceeds the speed limit at the same rate, right? Well, after 20 years of monitoring it turned out that blacks did speed more than Whites, hispanics, hindus and everyone else.

    Simply the most fair policy is a single set of rules for everyone.

    • Alexandra1973

      I remember my dad telling me that drivers of red cars paid higher insurance premiums (I don’t know if it’s true now). In a way it makes sense…look at the type of people likely to drive a red car, wanting to speed and do crazy stuff, wanting to look and act cool. Statistics.

      • IstvanIN

        My father has driven red cars since the early 80s, he’s 76 now, and is as far from a crazy driver as there is.

        • Blaak Obongo

          I’ve had two red cars, a Chevy panel van and a Subaru sedan. Never did any hot-rodding with either of them.

          • LHathaway

            My father wanted me to get a red car. When I got older I realized was is because they are easier to see and, presumably, less likely to be hit.

            As for you, of course you never did any hot-rodding, blacks aren’t into that, for the most part.

          • Yancy Derringer

            They fade and discolor something awful.

            …. I recall reading an insurance industry study that determined that drivers of red cars get ticketed at a higher rate than other.

      • Jo

        Lol. Not sure my insurance is higher because I drive a red car, a very fast sports car, than the same model in blue, but I have been pulled over by the police frequently for no reason. Never received a warning or ticket. It’s very annoying. I don’t speed or do crazy stuff. Nor do I look or act cool. I’m rather conservative in appearance and demeanor even though my favorite color is dark red. I just think this car and manufacturer are the best on the road. That it is fast is secondary, but it comes in handy when pulling onto highways.

    • MBlanc46

      That makes a lot of sense if you have a reasonably homogeneous population. If most people are pretty much the same, having the same set of rules for everyone is both simple and fair. But when there is great diversity in the population, different rules for different groups might be preferable. Given the significant differences between blacks and whites, it might well be necessary to have different rules for the different races.

      • IstvanIN

        You make a very good point but we are long past that point, at best, in our current multicultural utopia, the best we can hope for is race-blind laws.

        • MBlanc46

          It won’t happen anytime soon, that’s for sure. But “color-blindness” too is under attack by the integrationists. We’ll be fortunate if it survives.

          • 1G25

            Affirmative action in all things is hardly “color-blind.”

      • 1G25

        That worked in America before 1956.

    • Spikeygrrl

      I wish I could upvote you multiple times, but that wouldn’t be playing by the rules. Oh, wait….

    • WoodyBBad

      I have never understood how a law that requires me to serve someone against my will (Title II) passes constitutional muster. It makes one a slave on their own private property.

      • John Jackson

        Sadly, at the end of the day the Constitution is just a piece of paper, not a physical force, if the mob wants something they get it.

        • Ace

          As the Supreme “pull it out of thin air” Court has ably demonstrated.

      • Ace

        Obviously you are not intelligent enough to realize that a lunch counter is exactly the same as an interstate highway. 🙂

    • John Jackson

      Well, that’s the thing, anti-discrimination laws are NOT constitutional, but as with most things that really doesn’t matter. As you say, we should all be free to associate how we please, allow that and I think 90% of the racial issues will go away.

  • LHathaway

    “conservatives warn that such an approach could lead to racial quotas in housing and other areas”.

    Yes, conservatives need to remain vigilant or racial quotas and guidelines will spring up – eye roll.

    “the statute also authorizes lawsuits when housing decisions disproportionately harm minority groups”.

    This explains why there are neighborhoods and sections of cities where virtual no whites live, and it can be unsafe for whites there, and no one says a thing (except to decry segregation – when whites can be accused of it – no stone should be left unturned looking for this kind). There are no Whites within miles, in some case. This is because the law only protects minorities. . .

    Oh, wait. . whites are a minority in these neighborhoods, if almost driven to the point of nonexistence. Whites are a minority in many of these cities, and have been for years. Whites are a minority now in 3 states. There must be some other explanation for how neighborhoods filled with people of color are something to celebrate (and more needs done) while neighborhoods mostly filled with whites are something to condemn and be dealt with as evil.

  • MBlanc46

    Coming soon, to the house next door to you….

  • WR_the_realist

    The presumption is that poor people have a right to live in a rich neighborhood. Why? The left keeps coming up with a new “right” every week.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      It’s their right to find new rights.

    • LHathaway

      If you’re poor and white, you’re the only ones who have no option of living in a neighborhood with only others of your kind.

  • Spikeygrrl

    NOBODY wants to live anywhere near Section 8 housing…including those who live IN Section 8 housing.

    • WoodyBBad

      Section 8 housing would be great…if you didn’t have neighbors!

      • Spikeygrrl

        I would not live in Section 8 housing no matter where they put it, because neighbors — CLOSE neighbors — are mandatory. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that Section 8 doesn’t do detached single-family houses. The closest I’ve seen are condo-size and -style row houses.

        • Sid Ishus

          Section 8 covers detached homes.

          • Spikeygrrl

            Thanks, I did not know that.

          • Sid Ishus

            They even have programs to buy the houses for tenants.

  • this could be huge if SCOTUS overturns disparate impact.

    As a former lawyer I can tell you that the disparate impact civil rights laws and rulings are a major major major factor in how america is run today.

    • SCOTUS better ditch disparate impact, or at least put very serious limits on its use.

      There is barely a criminal law on the books that doesn’t have a disparate impact on blacks. If the DI doctrine is allowed to have the run of the joint, we’ll eventually see one day murder charges against blacks dismissed and/or murder convictions against blacks wiped away just to have racial balance in the universe of convicted murderers.

    • WR_the_realist

      Disparate impact is the most pernicious legal doctrine ever devised. Every sensible social policy has disparate impact, so every sensible social policy is now forbidden. I know Scalia wants to get rid of disparate impact, I’m worried about the other 8 justices on the Supreme Court.

  • Den Christe

    For almost 150 years the United States
    has been conducting an interesting experiment. The subjects of the
    experiment: black people and working-class whites.

    The
    hypothesis to be tested: Can a people taken from the jungles of
    Africa and forced into slavery be fully integrated as citizens in a
    majority white population?

    The whites were descendants of
    Europeans who had created a majestic civilization. The former slaves
    had been tribal peoples with no written language and virtually no
    intellectual achievements. Acting on a policy that was not fair to
    either group, the government released newly freed black people into a
    white society that saw them as inferiors. America has struggled with
    racial discord ever since.

    Decade after decade the problems
    persisted but the experimenters never gave up. They insisted that if
    they could find the right formula the experiment would work, and
    concocted program after program to get the result they wanted. They
    created the Freedman’s Bureau, passed civil rights laws, tried to
    build the Great Society, declared War on Poverty, ordered race
    preferences, built housing projects, and tried midnight basketball.

    Their new laws intruded into people’s lives in ways that
    would have been otherwise unthinkable. They called in National Guard
    troops to enforce school integration. They outlawed freedom of
    association. Over the protests of parents, they put white children on
    buses and sent them to black schools and vice versa. They tried with
    money, special programs, relaxed standards, and endless handwringing
    to close the “achievement gap.” To keep white backlash in check
    they began punishing public and even private statements on race. They
    hung up Orwellian public banners that commanded whites to “Celebrate
    Diversity!” and “Say No To Racism.” Nothing was off limits if
    it might salvage the experiment.

    • Ace

      That is excellent.

  • Sid Ishus

    “No matter where they go, we will follow. No matter how far away they move, we will follow. They can’t escape us.” Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young

    • Nancy

      Andy Young was a “special guest speaker” at Andy Stanley’s megachurch in the Atlanta area a year ago. We were attending the church at that time, and weren’t aware he was speaking that day. I watched 5 minutes of Stanley’s ridiculous, fawning question-and-answer interview with Young, who sat there like a benevolent grandfather, edifying everyone with his knowledge of God, family, and community.

      Then I stood up and walked out.

  • Disparate impact? How about interracial crimes, like the “knockout game”? They have a disparate impact on Whites.

  • Raymond Kidwell

    When all this diversity white guilt stuff harms low income whites like myself, the courts and politicians don’t care. As soon as the crime ridden ghettos start encroaching on their wealthy neighborhoods, all the sudden their story changes. Well I’m glad to know where I stand in these people’s minds. Somewhere below their hispanic maid.

  • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

    Civil rights for non whites means no rights and protection for whites like safe neighborhoods and schools, protecting women folk and kids and also having clean cities. Civil rights for these non whites also means encroachment of blacks into white houses to kill, steal and murder. So that is the legacy of civil rights in white countries.

    • Ace

      Rational human life requires discrimination. I like the white communities, some whites, some blacks, conservatives, whole grain bread, box wine, Scarlatti sonatas, old cars, fados, Cesaria Evora, some Chinese, some Japanese, intelligent women, gun owners, Joe McCarthy, and neighborhoods where people park their RVs in the driveway and have military stickers on their cars. I think people on welfare shouldn’t vote and FDR was a useful idiot who never saw a communist he didn’t like.

      With the advent of “civil rights” everyone’s right to discriminate, to be discriminating, is demonized, even criminalized. It’s against the law to think rationally and now when a dirt sandwich is handed to us, we’re supposed to like it. What I think is rational is trumped by some zealot in the legislature, bureaucracy or the press. In Sweden, if you even say that immigration is bad for Sweden, it’s a criminal offense. In the U.S., if an employer wants to hire someone, he can’t reject the applicant if he dresses like Little Bo Peep or thug, is functionally illiterate, and can’t take a simple aptitude test.

      I guess whites have an unlimited appetite for this. I don’t see much of a groundswell in favor of cutting the nonsense. Here we sit watching with interest to see whether the Supreme Court will take a simple logical step to get the culture back on track. Oh, please, most wonderful Supremes. Give us back a smidgen of our liberties.

  • disqus_Xz3UA6obwj

    Disparate impact theory = Jim Crow for whites.

  • Preparation HBomb

    This whole civil rights doctrine is predicated on the “should” (there IS no such thing) of “leveling the playing field.” There IS no level playing field anywhere in Nature or anywhere else; this mythical concept flaps between the ears of liberals, socialists and communists. The fact is, people who can’t afford to live in affluent suburbs (I can’t, and I’m white) – just don’t get to live there, period. HUD housing is NOT going to be found in Brentwood, Bel Air, or Beverly Hills, trust me! And there is absolutely no reason why it should be. People have to pull themselves up FOR themselves. It does no good at all to “make it easier for them,” because then they do not value it and trash it as they would in the barrio/ghetto where they came from initially. I mean, really, would you go to a “level playing field” affirmative action oncologist or cardiologist? I promise you I wouldn’t. So – forget making things easier for our little brown brothers. Let them move up on their own merits. Otherwise it’s worthless.