Texas Matters: SCOTUS, Disparate Impact And Discrimination In Texas Public Housing

Jan 23, 2015

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 is one of President Johnson's signature civil rights laws
Credit LBJ Presidential Library / public domain

The new Texas Solicitor General, Scott A. Keller, has been on the job about three weeks and already has had to stand before the U.S. Supreme Court and defend Texas.

On Wednesday, the high court heard Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs. The Inclusive Communities Project.

At issue is a concept called “disparate impact” and if Texas is violating disparate impact rules and discriminating against low-income, predominately African American families, in how it administers housing grants.

Hans Von Spakovsky, a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, writes in the National Review online that Disparate Impact is not law and is nothing more than quote “wishful thinking on steroids.”

John Henneberger sees disparate impact differently. He is a director of the Austin based Texas Low Income Housing Information Service. Henneberger, a recipient of the MacArthur foundation genius grant, says without disparate impact then the 1968 Fair Housing Act would be significantly weakened because it would be extremely difficult to prove intentional discrimination.