Page:Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.pdf/33

This page has been validated.
Cite as: 576 U. S. ____ (2015)

THOMAS, J., dissenting


The author of disparate-impact liability under Title VII was not Congress, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). EEOC’s "own official history of these early years records with unusual candor the commission’s fundamental disagreement with its founding charter, especially Title VII's literal requirement that the discrimination be intentional." H. Graham, The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy 1960–1972, p. 248 (1990). The Commissioners and their legal staff thought that "discrimination" had become "less often an individual act of disparate treatment flowing from an evil state of mind" and "more institutionalized." Jackson, EEOC vs. Discrimination, Inc., 75 The Crisis 16 (1968). They consequently decided they should target employment practices "which prove to have a demonstrable racial effect without a clear and convincing business motive." Id., at 16–17 (emphasis deleted). EEOC's "legal staff was aware from the beginning that a normal, traditional, and literal interpretation of Title VII could blunt their efforts" to penalize employers for practices that had a disparate impact, yet chose "to defy Title VII's restrictions and attempt to build a body of case law that would justify [their] focus on effects and [their] disregard of intent." Graham, supra, at 248, 250.

The lack of legal authority for their agenda apparently did not trouble them much. For example, Alfred Blumrosen, one of the principal creators of disparate-impact liability at EEOC, rejected what he described as a "defeatist view of Title VII" that saw the statute as a "compromise" with a limited scope. A. Blumrosen, Black Employment and the Law 57–58 (1971). Blumrosen "felt that most of the problems confronting the EEOC could be solved by creative interpretation of Title VII which would be upheld by the courts, partly out of deference to the administrators." Id., at 59.