A housing discrimination case from New Jersey could lead to one of the biggest decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term. On the other hand, if it proceeds like another recent fair housing case, it could end up a dud.
The justices granted review of Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action Inc. at the end of their last term. It is slated for argument Dec. 4 on the question of whether disparate-impact claims of discrimination may be brought under the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Two terms ago, the Supreme Court was slated to take up that question in a case involving claims of disparate-impact bias in the city’s regulation of rental properties in St. Paul, Minn. The question is significant not just for housing issues at the building and city levels, but for banks, mortgage companies, the insurance industry and other entities covered by the fair housing law.