Although the Obamacare decision is soaking up all the attention, the Supreme Court gave the Obama administration another big win today. The Court said that the Fair Housing Act — a law passed during Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration to fight housing discrimination — prohibits discrimination from governments, mortgage lenders, and insurance companies even when it is not intentional. Having to prove intent in housing discrimination cases would have made it much more difficult for such cases to have success.
Five justices voted to uphold the practice of fighting the outwardly benign practices that have had a deleterious effect on minorities, and Justice Anthony Kennedy — the Court’s most reliable swing voter — wrote the majority opinion. “The Court acknowledges the Fair Housing Act’s continuing role in moving the nation toward a more integrated society,” he wrote. Justice Samuel Alito dissented with the more conservative justices, calling the decision “a serious mistake.”