WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) reconsidering HUD’s implementation of the Fair Housing Act disparate impact standard.
Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (www.ncrc.org), made the following statement:
“HUD appears to be thinking about how to create loopholes to avoid findings of disparate impact, a standard that says discrimination, regardless of intent, is illegal. It’s an important standard and the law is clear and settled. The Supreme Court affirmed the disparate impact standard in 2015. It looks like HUD wants to get around that decision and figure out how to allow discrimination in some cases. That’s a terrible and shocking idea. There’s no reason to touch the rule or introduce loopholes, confusion or uncertainty into a standard that is clear.
“I am especially concerned by HUD’s suggestion that it may create “safe harbors” or regulatory exemptions to the application of the disparate impact rule.
“The questions posed by HUD purport to only seek clarity – but we already have clarity, including a crystal-clear ruling by the Supreme Court in favor of the disparate impact standard. This law has years of jurisprudence and the rule as it stands is sufficient.
“Remember, HUD recently removed the goal of creating communities “free of discrimination” from its mission statement. That change was more than symbolic. In this case, the administration’s pro-business, anti-regulation agenda d0esn’t even attempt to hide its comfort with discrimination against minorities, women and other protected groups. The disparate impact standard is clear.
“This also looks like another case of Wall Street trying to have its way over the interests of main street. The insurance industry hates the disparate impact rule and hopes to introduce exceptions and loopholes to introduce confusion and weaken its universal application.”