Housing bias dispute could return to Supreme Court

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not easy to prevent the Supreme Court from deciding an issue once it's agreed to hear a case.

But over the past two years, civil rights advocates have managed to do just that.

They coaxed settlements in housing discrimination cases weeks before scheduled oral arguments.

Their goal was to remove any chance that court conservatives might undermine a legal doctrine the Obama administration and others have used.

In "disparate impact" cases, plaintiffs rely on statistics to show that seemingly neutral housing or lending practices can disproportionately harm racial minorities, even if there's no proof of intent to discriminate.

The court could decide as early as this month whether to take up a new case. Texas officials are accused of racial bias for steering low-income housing into mostly black neighborhoods.