Housing disparity based on race has been recognized as "the most serious domestic problem facing America today." Public housing recently became a major target of civil rights groups intent on the integration of American society. On April 20, 1976, the United States Supreme Court reasserted the power of the federal courts to order the location of low-income public housing, largely benefiting racial minorities, in the suburbs of a large metropolitan area. The question before the Supreme Court in Hills v. Gautreaux was whether the district court had authority to order the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to remedy a segregated housing pattern by taking affirmative remedial action affecting the suburban areas outside the city limits of Chicago. In finding such authority in this public housing segregation case, the Court resolved two crucial questions raised by similar school desegregation cases, particularly Milliken v. Bradley. The first question considered was whether Milliken, in a public housing context, would deny the use of a remedy that transcended the boundaries of political subdivisions, where there had not been a finding of an intermunicipal constitutional violation. The second question raised by Milliken was whether the imposition of metropolitan area relief would "impermissibly interfere with local governments and suburban housing authorities that have not been implicated in HUD's unconstitutional conduct."
II. Factual and Procedural Background
III. The Court’s Decision … A. Miliken v. Bradley … B. The Court’s Reasoning
Paul E. Hofmeister,
Intermunicipal Remedy for Discrimination in Public Housing: Hills v. Gautreaux, 425 U.S. 284 (1976),
56 Neb. L. Rev. 723
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol56/iss3/10