As Mandy Nagy noted in her post on the Legal Insurrection blog, on May 15th the House Judiciary Committee (on which the CONGRESSWWOOMMAAANN sits) conducted an interview of Department of Social Justice Attorney General Eric Holder. One of the tense moments circulating on the web (and links via email into my inbox) that the Houston Chronicle failed to publicize in this article centered on a case Labor Secretary Nominee Thomas Perez had allegedly agreed to prevent the Supreme Court from hearing:
From the Legal Insurrection post:
In the recording, Perez is heard discussing a 2011 Justice Department case against the city of St. Paul, MN and making mention of a request not to disclose the details of that case. Issa insinuated that the arrangement was in exchange for what he characterized as a quid pro quo agreement for the city to drop a civil rights case that was to be heard by the Supreme Court.
“Is it OK to trade a case you don’t want going to the Supreme Court for a dollar damage case? That’s the real question here,” Issa pressed of Holder.
The recording seemed to catch many in the room by surprise, most notably Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who then interrupted Issa’s line of questioning to demand a parliamentary inquiry into whether or not it was necessary to provide the recording to the Attorney General or other members of the committee prior to today’s proceedings. (see it at about the 4:40 mark)
So, why did Sheila Jackson Lee interrupt Darrell Issa?
The case is Magner v Gallagher, which the Wall Street Journal summarized as concerning the legality of disparate-impact theory in housing.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Congressmen Darrell Issa, Lamar Smith and Patrick McHenry, along with Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, are investigating the St. Paul quid pro quo, and with good reason. To recap: A senior Justice Department official, Mr. Perez, intervened to undermine two civil complaints against the City of St. Paul in order to get St. Paul to drop a Supreme Court case that might have blown apart the legal rationale for his dubious discrimination crusade against law-abiding businesses.
It’s not a surprise to anyone following Houston politics and Sheila Jackson-Lee that the Houston Chronicle would fail to report the reason why the Congresswoman interrupted Darrell Issa. As a member of House Judiciary Committee, she would know the extent of the investigation into the St. Paul quid pro quo.
Sheila Jackson-Lee does not want Houstonians to know that she and her fellow race-hustlers were afraid for the Supreme Court, and hence the American people, to hear the Magner case.
Again from the Wall Street Journal:
“the text of the Fair Housing Act doesn’t explicitly allow for disparate impact”.
“The City of Saint Paul, national civil rights organizations, and legal scholars believe that, if Saint Paul prevails in the U.S. Supreme Court, such a result could completely eliminate ‘disparate impact’ civil rights enforcement, including under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This would undercut important and necessary civil rights cases throughout the nation. The risk of such an unfortunate outcome is the primary reason the city has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition.”
The potential exists, though, for the Supreme Court to hear another case examining the legality of the disparate impact theory under the Fair Housing Act. That case, as noted in the WSJ, is Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action.
Let’s hope SCOTUS takes up the case the race hustlers fear.