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Coakley : Supreme Court must allow housing claims

October 29, 2013

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is urging the Supreme Court to uphold key enforcement tools which she said make it easier to root out housing discrimination.

In a brief filed with the court, Coakley said the justices should recognize so-called “disparate impact claims” in housing discrimination lawsuits.

Disparate impact refers to policies which disproportionately harm minority groups even though the policy may seem objective or neutral.

Coakley said states like Massachusetts have used disparate impact claims to pursue banks and mortgage companies for making high-risk subprime home mortgage loans to distressed minority borrowers.

The brief argues that allowing disparate impact claims is critical to maintaining equal access to housing.

The brief was joined by 11 states including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

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