Page:Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.pdf/18

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Opinion of the Court

gress rejected a proposed amendment that would have eliminated disparate-impact liability for certain zoning decisions. See H. R. Rep., at 89–93.

Against this background understanding in the legal and regulatory system, Congress’ decision in 1988 to amend the FHA while still adhering to the operative language in §§804(a) and 805(a) is convincing support for the conclusion that Congress accepted and ratified the unanimous holdings of the Courts of Appeals finding disparate-impact liability. "If a word or phrase has been . . . given a uniform interpretation by inferior courts . . . , a later version of that act perpetuating the wording is presumed to carry forward that interpretation.” A. Scalia & B. Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 322 (2012); see also Forest Grove School Dist. v. T. A., 557 U. S. 230, 244, n. 11 (2009) (“When Congress amended [the Act] without altering the text of [the relevant provision], it implicitly adopted [this Court’s] construction of the statute”); Manhattan Properties, Inc. v. Irving Trust Co., 291 U. S. 320, 336 (1934) (explaining, where the Courts of Appeals had reached a consensus interpretation of the Bankruptcy Act and Congress had amended the Act without changing the relevant provision, "[t]his is persuasive that the construction adopted by the [lower federal] courts has been acceptable to the legislative arm of the government").

Further and convincing confirmation of Congress' understanding that disparate-impact liability exists under the FHA is revealed by the substance of the 1988 amendments. The amendments included three exemptions from liability that assume the existence of disparate-impact claims. The most logical conclusion is that the three amendments were deemed necessary because Congress presupposed disparate impact under the FHA as it had been enacted in 1968.

The relevant 1988 amendments were as follows. First,