For the third time in less than four years the Supreme Court is reviewing one particular case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. Experts say that’s curious. “It is unusual for the Court to agree to hear a case when the law is clearly settled. It’s even more unusual to agree to hear the issue three years in a row,” U-C Berkeley law professor Ian Haney López tells ProPublica. What’s being decided is the point at which the law can intervene in accusations of housing discrimination: when evidence proves intentional racism or when the evidence proves discriminatory outcome. The importance of this decision, now before a Roberts court with a history of hollowing out key civil rights gains and turning corporations into people, can’t be overstated. It could potentially gut the 1968 Fair Housing Act–passed days after King’s assassination–and has broad impact on everything from communities’ ability to fight predatory lending to the continuation of segregated schooling.
The court’s decision is expected before July 2015. Follow developments and read up on the background of this Texas case on SCOTUSblog.