Summary and Analysis of Supreme Court’s Disparate Impact Decision
July 13, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision recognizing disparate impact discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act in one respect does not change the status quo. The decision affirms the position of the nine federal circuit courts of appeal that have considered the issue. On the one hand, the Supreme Court’s decision raises the profile of such claims, which do not require proof of a defendant’s discriminatory intent. This might embolden private plaintiffs and enforcement officials to bring such clams. On the other hand, Justice Kennedy’s 5-4 opinion cautions courts against allowing inappropriate discrimination claims based solely on statistical disparities. A plaintiff must also show a causal relationship between the disparity and the defendant’s policies. Please see CBA’s Regulatory Compliance Bulletin for more information.