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More Justice Department Chicanery: Thomas Perez and ‘Disparate Impact’

The cabinet nominee fought to keep the Supreme Court from reviewing his preferred extortion technique.

by
Hans von Spakovsky

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June 1, 2013 - 12:00 am
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One of the administration’s favorite legal theories, “disparate impact,” may get taken up again by the Supreme Court. Will the administration try to engineer some kind of payoff to take the issue away from the Court — again?

In June 2012, the town of Mount Holly, N.J., petitioned the Supreme Court to review the legitimacy of racial discrimination claims premised solely on a disparate impact theory under the Fair Housing Act. Under this theory, a policy — such as requiring high credit scores for loans — can be completely neutral, but if it yields a disparate impact on a particular racial or gender group, an institution using that policy can be held liable for discrimination. In other words, an entity can be found to have discriminated even if it didn’t actually intend to discriminate.

Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for Civil Rights at the Justice Department and President Obama’s nominee to be Labor secretary, has used disparate impact to extort huge settlements from the financial industry under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Here, Mount Holly is alleged to have discriminated simply because it wanted to redevelop and rebuild a rundown housing development in a high-crime area where almost half the residents are black. Thus, the rebuilding plan would have had a statistically larger impact on black residents than white residents.

The issue of whether a mere disparate impact claim violates the FHA, or whether the more rigorous standard of intentional discrimination is required was before the Supreme Court last year. In that case, Magner v. Gallagher, the city of St. Paul, MN, was accused of violating the FHA because it aggressively enforced the health and safety provisions of its housing code. Slumlords sued the city, claiming that enforcement had a disparate impact because the majority of their tenants were racial minorities.

In other words, they were using the FHA to obstruct the city’s attempt to improve the horrible living conditions of poor families.

Thomas Perez concocted a quid pro quo deal to have the Magner case dismissed — even though the U.S. was not a party in the case. At the time, the federal government was considering intervening in a separate False Claims Act case worth almost $200 million against St. Paul. The city had received tens of millions of dollars from the federal government based on what career attorneys within the Justice Department called a “particularly egregious example of false certifications” by the city.

Perez told St. Paul that the Justice Department would stay out of the False Claims Act case if the city withdrew the Magner case that the Supreme Court had agreed to hear. The city jumped at the deal.

A report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee later concluded that Perez “sought, facilitated, and consummated this deal because he feared that the Court would find disparate impact unsupported by the text of the Fair Housing Act.” According to the same report, Perez also attempted to hide both the deal and his involvement in it.

He even called a key lawyer in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota and told him to make sure there wasn’t “any mention of the Magner case” in the False Claims Act case files.

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Top Rated Comments   
If you make life better for people, it's harder to control them. Thomas Perez and the entire DoJ is racist.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (19)
All Comments   (19)
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Disparate impact could be a valid reason to investigate a discrimination case. But in the absense of provable actual discrimination, not just different results, it should not be allowed to prove discrimination, and in absense of other proof should not even be admissable in court. It becomes a quota and racial spoils system entitlement, and is fostering discrimination, not attacking it, and is completely evil. Until the dem party repudiates this evil racist practice, they have no moral standing at all to attack repubs as being racist.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, as a non-minority, I can sue and be compensated for the disparate impact of minority perpetrated crime relative to their component of the general population ? Compensated by. say, Mssrs perez, holder, Obama, Farrakhan, and as well the slpc and such ? Or does this disparate bovine scatology only flow in one, one might say, racial direction. Or, perhaps, it is intemperate to suggest such a thing.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is a non-minority?

To answer that one must first know what a minority is. The term itself has no defined meaning. In practice, it seems to mean anyone the left is interested in seeing treated unequally, according to a different set of standards and criteria than what would normally be applied.

Therefore I propose that the term "minority" refers to anyone who supports leftist ideologies and especially anyone who consistently votes Democrat.

If that does not describe you, then you are not a "minority."
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Jews in the US are under 2% of the population, so some would consider them a minority. And too many of my fellow Jews support liberal ideologies and pretty consistently vote Democratic, so by Lee's definition they'd be considered minorities. But we're mostly "white" and have succeeded pretty well, so I guess we're not a minority after all.

PS: I know a doctor who's Chinese-American, but Jewish by conversion. So imagine the pressure on her kids to succeed! Will *they* be considered minorities? Somehow I doubt it.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It should also be noted that while the brief criticizes Mount Holly for not raising this issue when Magner was before the Supreme Court, it fails to inform the Court that a senior Justice Department official (whose name is on the brief) helped get that very case dismissed before the Court could hear oral arguments."

Pretty sure this is not lost on the Justices.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
They would have to be aware of it first.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Under this theory, a policy — such as requiring high credit scores for loans — can be completely neutral, but if it yields a disparate impact on a particular racial or gender group, an institution using that policy can be held liable for discrimination."

I would bet my 401k that "particular racial or gender group" could never in a million years mean "whites" or "men".
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
We prefer the terms "people of pallor" and "Y-chromosome-afflicted."
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or "Republicans" or "Tea Party members"
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
in passing...

(noticed the picture attached to this post coupled with recent events involving ag holder and pres obama)

i'm noticing this current crop of tyrants have the worst "hand over heart" posture

it is as though they are getting body-blowed by the words of the pledge of allegiance or the star spangled banner (for obvious reasons) and are trying to subconsciously protect themselves as their hands are more near their guts than heart/chest
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The logical end-point of "disparate impact" theory would be a world in which blacks get a slap on the wrist for crimes that would get whites imprisoned for life.

Obama has said that he favors a corporatist form of government, and what could be more fascistic than the policies that he and his allies pursue?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Education Dept. is working on exactly that kind of policy for schools. Disparate impact considerations would for example, ensure that Black students would be allowed more infractions before being suspended/expelled than whites.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama, Holder, and Perez are each men of color who, apparently, hate, loath, and despise members of the white race. Why would anyone expect them to respect the law or use it for any ends except their own?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The people who promote the notion of disparate impact as a means of proving racial or gender discrimination are the same ones who deny that the IRS, EPA and the DoJ discriminating against conservatives has anything to do with politics. If certain groups do better or worse on an admissions test, that's taken of prove of a biased test, but if hundreds of conservative, pro-life and pro-Israel groups are singled out for special attention by the IRS, with no such corresponding groups on the left getting a proctological exam from the taxman, well, that's just a bureaucratic snafu, not evidence of biase.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
So the Federal government and it's lawyers can discriminate against a specific ethnic group and in favor of another group if they label their discrimination as 'affirmative action' or 'disparate impact'?

So if you go into a black neighborhood and tear down dilapidated buildings, then you would have to go into the white suburbs and tear down an equal number of buildings, just to be fair.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just stop building housing projects. All you do is create tribes of people that resent the government and run down the taxpayer investment. The tribe has nothing to do with race and everything to do with "we live here and you don't." You would think the police would be welcome in these projects but they aren't for the same reason you had to embed security forces inside the cities they were protecting in Iraq (and Vietnam). Because when they leave, snitches get stitches. If you really want to help those in the inner city, relocate them to one of thousands of small towns in America where the cost of living is low and your kids might actually graduate from high school alive. And with some values.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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