Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Judge slams Obama’s activist Department of Housing and Urban Development

/Personal Liberty Digest

87807989A U.S. District Court judge has reversed a rules change published last year by President Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), repudiating the department’s attempt at wielding policy measures to legislate outcomes that Congress never intended when it passed the Fair Housing Act.

Judge Richard Leon, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, scolded HUD in his ruling Monday for attempting to speak where Congress — the legislative body from which the department’s regulatory powers flow — had plainly remained silent.

In particular, Leon admonished HUD for attempting to change its rules so that its application of fair housing policy would achieve equal outcomes — instead of equal opportunity to obtain housing under the law, as Congress intended.

HUD strayed beyond its powers last winter, according to a Weekly Standard report, when it “published a regulation pursuant to the Fair Housing Act that defines discrimination as actions or policies that while neutral and nondiscriminatory in their intent have a disparate impact, shown through statistics, on a group of persons defined in terms of race (and other protected groups):
The legality of the new rule was challenged almost a year ago by two of the largest among the trade associations representing homeowner’s insurers, the pith of their argument being that in passing the Fair Housing Act Congress defined discrimination as disparate treatment — the different treatment of individuals on account of race — and not as disparate impact. The agency thus lacked the authority to make the new rule.
Leon agreed, siding with the plaintiffs who brought the suit, arguing that Congress only intended the Fair Housing Act to provide a level playing field — not to forcibly reconstruct social demographics by using policy as a social engineering tool.

“In the FHA, Congress has included no such effects-based language,” Leon wrote in his 32-page ruling. “… It takes hutzpah (bordering on desperation) to argue” that the FHA is meant to produce equal outcomes.

“This is, yet another example of an Administrative Agency trying desperately to write into law that which Congress never intended to sanction,” Leon surmised.

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