Massachusetts Housing Discrimination Headed to Supreme Court

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(Massachusetts) Attorney General Martha Coakley's office announced its' joining with the attorney's general of several states to press forward with a  suit to the US Supreme Court. The issue at hand is called "disparate impact". Here's a definition of disparate impact:

"A theory of liability that prohibits an employer from using a facially neutral employment practice that has an unjustified adverse impact on members of a protected class. A facially neutral employment practice is one that does not appear to be discriminatory on its face; rather it is one that is discriminatory in its application or effect." - Farlex Legal Dictionary .

The suit seeks to have housing discrimination have the same rules as employment discrimination. This way individuals as well as business's involved in renting, selling or financing properties can be held legally liable for this type of discrimination. This also covers lending practices of the mortgage industry especially how the sub-prime & minority borrowers were handled. The following is from the Massachusetts Attorney Generals press release today detailing the following issues to be clarified:

"
The brief was submitted in the case of Magner v. Gallagher (10-1032) that is scheduled for argument on February 29, 2012. The Supreme Court granted certiorari, or judicial review, on two questions:
(1) whether disparate impact claims are recognized under the FHA;
(2) and if so, what method should be utilized to analyze such claims. " - Source press-releases/2012/2012-01-31-fha-brief

It will be interesting how this will come out by nationalizing this issue and having the same standard applied across the country. The following states are involved with the brief : Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, and West Virginia.

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