Page:Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.pdf/42

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Alito, J., dissenting

Today, the Court embraces the same theory that drove the decision in Magner.[1] This is a serious mistake. The Fair Housing Act does not create disparate-impact liability, nor do this Court’s precedents. And today’s decision will have unfortunate consequences for local government, private enterprise, and those living in poverty. Something has gone badly awry when a city can’t even make slumlords kill rats without fear of a lawsuit. Because Congress did not authorize any of this, I respectfully dissent.


Everyone agrees that the FHA punishes intentional discrimination. Treating someone "less favorably than others because of a protected trait" is "'the most easily understood type of discrimination.'" Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U. S. 557, 577 (2009) (quoting Teamsters v. United States, 431 U. S. 324, 335, n. 15 (1977); some internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, this classic form of discrimination—called disparate treatment—is the only one prohibited by the Constitution itself. See, e.g., Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp., 429 U. S. 252, 264–265 (1977). It is obvious that Congress intended the FHA to cover disparate treatment.

The question presented here, however, is whether the FHA also punishes “practices that are not intended to discriminate but in fact have a disproportionately adverse effect on minorities." Ricci, supra, at 577. The answer is equally clear. The FHA does not authorize disparate-impact claims. No such liability was created when the law was enacted in 1968. And nothing has happened since then to change the law’s meaning.

  1. We granted certiorari in Magner v. Gallagher, 565 U. S. ___ (2011). Before oral argument, however, the parties settled. 565 U. S. ___ (2012). The same thing happened again in Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc., 571 U. S. ___ (2013).