2015 June 25

Supreme Court Affirms Federal Fair Housing Law


In a decision that surprised many observers, the Supreme Court on this day upheld the 1968 federal Fair Housing Act (April 11, 1968) and affirmed a key element regarding proving discrimination. The Court held that discrimination could be proven by the effect specific policies or actions and not necessarily their intent.

The Court decided Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project by a 5-4 margin, with the conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the four liberals justices.

The decision was a surprise to many observers because the Court has been generally hostile to programs designed to end discrimination through race-based remedies, such as affirmative action in employment and college admissions, and voting rights.

New York City enacted the first fair housing ordinance in the nation on December 5, 1957.

Learn more: John Yinger, Closed Doors, Opportunities Lost: The Continuing Costs of Housing Discrimination (1995)

Learn about housing discrimination at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights:


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