I am beginning to think that the Obama administration may set a new record for the number of regulations and/or executive actions that have or will be struck down by the federal courts. The most recent instance happened on the day before the mid-term election, when Judge Richard Leon of the D.C. circuit (appointed by G.W.B.) wrote in his opinion that the Justice Department’s interpretation of the Fair Housing Act language “appears to be nothing more than wishful thinking on steroids.”
I last wrote about the issue of “disparate impact” on October 25th, in a POST in which I noted that SCOTUS had agreed to take up the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs versus The Inclusive Communities Project case, and that the case would be an important one because of the potential for the Court to back away from the “disparate impact” doctrine established by Griggs v. Duke Power.
The case before Judge Leon was brought against HUD by the American Insurance Association (AIA). The members of the AIA were burdened by the Obama administration’s over-reaching interpretations of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, interpretations which had the effect of permitting HUD to bring many of the members’ business decisions under scrutiny for civil rights violations. In an example from 2012, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), a NYC-based public interest group, sued Allstate Corporation for refusing to insure flat-roofed houses in Delaware. In their suit, NFHA claimed that minorities were more likely to live in such buildings, and that they were therefore subject to discrimination by Allstate’s policy.
As an aside, in his twelve years on the federal bench, Judge Leon has compiled an interesting history. For details, check out his WikiPedia page, HERE.