June 25, 2015

Brown Statement on Supreme Court Ruling to Uphold Protections Against Housing Discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project. The ruling upheld a critical tool used for more than four decades to prevent discrimination in American housing.  

“Today's decision is a major victory for civil rights and equal opportunity in America,” Brown said. “As recent events have shown, our country continues to struggle with a legacy of racial injustice and inequality. The court's ruling preserves one of the most important tools we have to fight discrimination and ensure that all Americans have fair access to housing and economic opportunity. We need to continue efforts to combat discriminatory practices, not just in housing but in all consumer financial markets.”

The Supreme Court ruled that people can bring a lawsuit on “disparate impact” grounds under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Disparate impact describes a practice that has a discriminatory effect on a protected group, even in the absence of evidence of an intention to discriminate. In addition to being used to fight housing discrimination, fair lending laws have been central to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's efforts to ensure fair practices in mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, student loans, and other consumer credit products.