Supreme Court Ruling a Victory for Fair Housing in Maryland and Across the Country


For Immediate Release

June 25, 2015


Brittany Oliver, ACLU of Maryland, 410-693-4877,

BALTIMORE - The United States Supreme Court today issued an important ruling, declining to rollback the protections of the Fair Housing Act - a tremendous victory for equal opportunity, and for the future of our nation. The Court majority correctly recognized the commonsense idea that unjustified obstacles to diverse, prosperous communities should fall in favor of inclusive approaches that work for everyone.

"This Supreme Court ruling could play a key role in breaking a cycle of systemic inequality and denial of opportunity resulting from decades of discriminatory housing policies in Baltimore and across the country," said Barbara Samuels, attorney directing the ACLU of Maryland's fair housing advocacy. "A strong and effective Fair Housing Act will continue to help move our country beyond a legacy of segregation and discrimination and toward opportunity for all.

On January 21, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project. In that case, the State of Texas challenged the longstanding principle that the Fair Housing Act prohibits unjustified policies that discriminate in practice, whether or not it can be proved that they were motivated by an intent to harm a particular group. The latter principle, known as "disparate impact," has been crucial in knocking down arbitrary barriers to fair housing based on race, national origin, religion, gender, familial status, and disability.

The Court majority's decision is also in line with public opinion. A recent national survey conducted by The Opportunity Agenda found that six in ten Americans believe our existing fair housing laws are about right, while an additional three in ten say they are too weak. Just one in 10 believes that those laws are too strong.