Housing

Buchanan v. Warley1766 invalidated an ordinance that prohibited blacks from occupying houses in blocks where the greater number of houses were occupied by whites and that prohibited whites from doing so where the greater number of houses were occupied by blacks. Although racially restrictive covenants do not themselves violate the Equal Protection Clause, the judicial enforcement of them, either by injunctive relief or through entertaining damage actions, does.1767 Referendum passage of a constitutional amendment repealing a “fair housing” law and prohibiting further state or local action in that direction was held unconstitutional in Reitman v. Mulkey,1768 though on somewhat ambiguous grounds, whereas a state constitutional requirement that decisions of local authorities to build low-rent housing projects in an area must first be submitted to referendum, although other similar decisions were not so limited, was found not to violate the Equal Protection Clause.1769 Private racial discrimination in the sale or rental of housing is subject to two federal laws prohibiting most such discrimination.1770 Provision of publicly assisted housing, of course, must be on a non-discriminatory basis.1771

Footnotes

1766
245 U.S. 60 (1917). See also Harmon v. Tyler, 273 U.S. 668 (1927); Richmond v. Deans, 281 U.S. 704 (1930). [Back to text]
1767
Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948); Hurd v. Hodge, 334 U.S. 24 (1948); Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249 (1953). Cf. Corrigan v. Buckley, 271 U.S. 323 (1926). [Back to text]
1768
387 U.S. 369 (1967). [Back to text]
1769
James v. Valtierra, 402 U.S. 137 (1971). The Court did not perceive that either on its face or as applied the provision was other than racially neutral. Justices Marshall, Brennan, and Blackmun dissented. Id. at 143. [Back to text]
1770
Civil Rights Act of 1866, 14 Stat. 27, 42 U.S.C. § 1982, see Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968), and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), 82 Stat. 73, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601et seq. [Back to text]
1771
See Hills v. Gautreaux, 425 U.S. 284 (1976). [Back to text]