Page:Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.pdf/41

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


Alito, J., dissenting

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


No. 13–1371


TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, ET AL., PETITIONERS v.
THE INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES PROJECT, INC., ET AL.

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF

APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT

[June 25, 2015]


Justice Alito, with whom The Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, and Justice Thomas join, dissenting.

No one wants to live in a rat’s nest. Yet in Gallagher v. Magner, 619 F. 3d 823 (2010), a case that we agreed to review several Terms ago, the Eighth Circuit held that the Fair Housing Act (or FHA), 42 U. S. C. §3601 et seq., could be used to attack St. Paul, Minnesota’s efforts to combat "rodent infestation" and other violations of the city’s housing code. 619 F. 3d, at 830. The court agreed that there was no basis to "infer discriminatory intent" on the part of St. Paul. Id., at 833. Even so, it concluded that the city's "aggressive enforcement of the Housing Code" was actionable because making landlords respond to "rodent infestation, missing dead-bolt locks, inadequate sanitation facilities, inadequate heat, inoperable smoke detectors, broken or missing doors," and the like increased the price of rent. Id., at 830, 835. Since minorities were statistically more likely to fall into “the bottom bracket for household adjusted median family income," they were disproportionately affected by those rent increases, i.e., there was a "disparate impact." Id., at 834. The upshot was that even St. Paul's good-faith attempt to ensure minimally acceptable housing for its poorest residents could not ward off a disparate-impact lawsuit.