Civil and Human Rights

Justices Show Skepticism Toward Fair Housing Act Challenge

Washington, DC – Following oral argument today in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, a critical dispute over the Fair Housing Act, Constitutional Accountability Center attorneys – who were inside the Court for today’s proceedings – issued the following reaction:


CAC Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra said, “A majority of Justices today appeared to reject Texas’s attempt to limit the reach of the Fair Housing Act, with none other than Justice Scalia labeling the states’ interpretation of the law as ‘very strange.’ Justice Scalia correctly observed that it is hard to read the Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968 and amended since then in ways that acknowledge the existence of ‘disparate impact liability,’ not to allow for claims against practices that have a ‘discriminatory effect’ — practices that result in a disparate impact on a group of persons or create, increase, or reinforce segregated housing patterns — as well as those that are proven to be motivated by discriminatory intent.” Wydra added, “Scalia’s strong endorsement of the availability of disparate impact liability under the FHA was perhaps even more surprising than the protests that disrupted the start of the Court’s session this morning.”


CAC Civil Rights Director David Gans continued, “Texas urged the Justices to use the case to rewrite federal civil rights law, but that invitation seemed to fall flat. The Justices recognized that disparate impact suits help eradicate barriers to equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race.”






CAC “friend of the court” brief in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project: 


“Will the Supreme Court Honor Dr. King’s Legacy?,” Elizabeth Wydra, Huffington Post, January 20, 2015:




Constitutional Accountability Center ( is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.