Legal Momentum has filed an Amicus Brief in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Township of Mt. Holly et al. vs. Mt. Holly Gardens et al. on behalf of Legal Momentum, Futures Without Violence, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the NOW Foundation, and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Several Legal Momentum staff members were involved in writing the brief. Tim Casey, director of Legal Momentum's Women and Poverty program, is the counsel of record on the brief.
The case is about housing discrimination against victims of domestic violence, the majority of whom are women. The issue for the court to decide is whether the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which bans housing discrimination on the grounds (among others) of race or sex, authorizes “disparate impact” challenges to policies that do not explicitly discriminate on the ground of race or sex, but which have an unjustified disproportionate racial or gender impact. Legal Momentum argues in the brief that the FHA does authorize disparate impact claims, and that disparate impact applies to policies that discriminate against domestic violence victims because the overwhelming majority of victims are women. We explain the importance of the disparate impact legal tool in protecting victims against discriminatory landlord policies, such as evicting victims because of their batterers’ violence against them, and the harmful consequences for victims if disparate impact is no longer available.