SCOTUS Delivers Sweeping Decision; Leaves Big-Bank, Goldman-Sachs Republicans Silent

Well, one thing is clear. Republicans want to stack the United States Supreme Court with die-hard conservatives for more than one reason, not the least of which is to protect them from decisions like this one…

In a ground-breaking decision, the Supreme Court opened the door for cities and municipalities to sue big banks for what the Washington Post describes as “allegedly discriminatory lending practices that they say led to urban blight.”

The past standard has allowed only individuals to sue through through the Fair Housing Act, but a 5-3 majority agreed that cities can also bring suit under the FHA.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the majority opinion, which did set the bar high for bringing suit, making it clear that cities must prove “some direct relationship between the injury asserted and the injurious conduct alleged.” 

A view of the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo – RTX2CX1S

This is a huge decision for cities with communities that suffered huge damages due to the predatory and discriminatory practices of big banks that led to the housing bubble, and the eventual collapse of that the housing market.

According to The Washington Post: “Miami and other cities had pursued what had been described as a novel approach under the FHA to recover what they lost in tax revenue and the demand for increased services as a result of the housing collapse. Banks have been sued by individuals and taken to task by the federal government for lending practices, but these new cases are the first in which cities are the plaintiffs and are demanding that banks be held accountable for harming their communities.”

Steven Mnuchin, national finance chairman for Republican president-elect Donald Trump, arrives at Trump Tower in New York, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Breyer’s opinion explains that these “predatory lending practices” in minority-specific neighborhoods “led to a ‘concentration’ of ‘foreclosures and vacancies. in those neighborhoods. Those concentrated ‘foreclosures and vacancies’ caused ‘stagnation and decline in African American and Latino neighborhoods.’ They hindered the city’s efforts to create integrated, stable neighborhoods. And, highly relevant here, they reduced property values, diminishing the city’s property tax revenue and increasing demand for municipal services.”


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