WASHINGTON – Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued the following statement on reports that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plans to issue a proposed regulation that would gut the Fair Housing Act’s essential discriminatory effects standard. The discriminatory effects standard, which the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in its 2015 decision in Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, allows plaintiffs to challenge unjustified policies and practices that disproportionately harm members of protected classes or that perpetuate segregation.
“Through his proposal to eviscerate the Fair Housing Act’s key protections against systemic discrimination, Secretary Ben Carson is continuing his broad attack on civil rights. The changes that Secretary Carson is proposing are designed to make it virtually impossible for communities of color to prevail in lawsuits challenging the discriminatory effects of unjustified barriers to housing. In the midst of a nationwide housing affordability crisis that has hit African Americans particularly hard, the Fair Housing Act is more essential than ever. We cannot afford to go backwards, and the civil rights community will fight to ensure that this proposed regulation never becomes law.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
Reynolds Graves, Lawyers’ Committee, RGraves@LawyersCommittee.org, 202-662-8375