The Dream Revisited
Discussion 13: The Future of the Fair Housing Act

Discussion 13: The Future of the Fair Housing Act

April 2015

The thirteenth discussion debates the significant of disparate impact liability under the Fair Housing Act, in light of the Supreme Court's deliberation in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project.

Essay

  • As We Celebrate Fair Housing Month the Fair Housing Act is at Risk

    by Alan Jenkins

    This is Fair Housing Month, commemorating the bedrock civil rights principle that we all deserve the opportunity to choose a home and neighborhood free from discrimination. April is Fair Housing Month because, on April 11, 1968, President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act of 1968 after months of ideological gridlock. Today, almost 50 years later, the Fair Housing Act is again at risk. An adverse decision [by the U.S. Supreme Court] would undermine America’s progress toward a nation of open and inclusive communities, and our national values of equal opportunity for all.

Discussants

  • The Unintended Consequences of Fair Housing Laws

    by Richard A. Epstein

    Alan Jenkins, the Executive Director of the Opportunity Agenda, has written an all too one-sided defense of the Fair-Housing Laws.  His major error is to assume that the goals of the law, however laudable, can be achieved by the coercive means that the government wishes to launch against it.  Yet, imposing any comprehensive federal judicial oversight on how Texas should run its program would require a huge expenditure of state and national funds that could be spent far better in dealing with the housing needs of the poor.

  • Let’s Stick With What Works

    by Dennis Parker

    Should the Supreme Court Act take steps that threaten the continuing vitality of this important statue, the President and Congress should take whatever steps are necessary to restore its role as a critical tool for achieving equality and fairness.

  • An Aging Population Relies on the Fair Housing Act for Independence and Community Living

    by Susan Ann Silverstein

    Building on the civil rights movements for disability rights and racial justice, older people all over the country have relied on the Fair Housing Act to ensure that they have equal access to housing that is affordable, appropriate, and accessible to them as they age and where they can have the services they need provided to them in their communities rather than in an institutional setting.  Age is not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act is essential to ensuring that older Americans have the housing they need to live high quality, independent, financially secure lives. Their continued ability to challenge policies that limit their full inclusion in the community without the necessity of proving intent, must not be limited.

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