Rat’s Nests and the NBA: SCOTUS on Disparate Impact

This blog post from the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels provides a clear overview of the Supreme Court’s recent decision about the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). The Court held that the FHA prohibits policies and practices that have a disparate impact on protected classes, even without any intent to discriminate.  The blog post contains a link to the decision, and I recommend reading both dissents, Justice Thomas’s and Justice Alito’s, as well as the opinion of the Court by Justice Kennedy.

Justice Thomas discusses a variety of racial imbalances, including the fact that “for roughly a quarter-century now, over 70 percent of [NBA] players have been black,” and states, “To presume that these and all other measurable racial disparities are products of racial discrimination is to ignore the complexities of human existence.”

Justice Alito opens with the words, “No one wants to live in a rat’s nest” (a reference to another recent disparate-impact case) and declares, “Something has gone badly awry when a city can’t even make slumlords kill rats without fear of a lawsuit.”

Now if that doesn’t whet your appetite for the dissents, I don’t know what will.

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