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Supreme Court OKs Disparate Impact Analysis Under Fair Housing Act

Posted on 6/26/2015

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that disparate impact claims are enforceable under the Fair Housing Act. The decision in the case -- Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project -- included a note of caution that statistical disparities only impose liability if plaintiffs can connect it to a defendant's policy causing the disparity in order to "protect defendants against abusive disparate-impact claims."

"ABA and our members are strong advocates for fair lending and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act," commented ABA President and CEO Frank Keating. "Disparate impact theory, however, is not the right tool to achieve fairness and prevent discrimination in lending. This approach can have unintended consequences, such as causing financial institutions to shrink their operations rather than risk litigation, hurting the very groups it is intended to help."

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