Page:Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.pdf/15

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Cite as: 576 U. S. ____ (2015)

Opinion of the Court

Section 804(a) provides that it shall be unlawful:

"To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin." 42 U. S. C. §3604(a).

Here, the phrase "otherwise make unavailable" is of central importance to the analysis that follows. Section 805(a), in turn, provides:

"It shall be unlawful for any person or other entity whose business includes engaging in real estate related transactions to discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of such a transaction, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin." §3605(a).

Applied here, the logic of Griggs and Smith provides strong support for the conclusion that the FHA encompasses disparate-impact claims. Congress’ use of the phrase "otherwise make unavailable" refers to the consequences of an action rather than the actor's intent. See United States v. Giles, 300 U. S. 41, 48 (1937) (explaining that the "word 'make' has many meanings, among them '[t]o cause to exist, appear or occur'" (quoting Webster’s New International Dictionary 1485 (2d ed. 1934))). This results-oriented language counsels in favor of recognizing disparate-impact liability. See Smith, supra, at 236. The Court has construed statutory language similar to §805(a) to include disparate-impact liability. See, e.g., Board of Ed. of City School Dist. of New York v. Harris, 444 U. S. 130, 140–141 (1979) (holding the term "discriminat[e]" encompassed disparate-impact liability in the context of a statute’s text, history, purpose, and structure).