So who pressured the settlement in Mount Holly?

October 31st, 2013

Two disparate impact fair housing cases are granted cert–St. Paul and Mt. Holly. Two are settled. The first was due to pressure from the Obama Administration. What gives with the second case?

Jess Bravin and Robbie Whelan have the story:

Parties to a major civil-rights case before the Supreme Court have reached a tentative settlement, people involved in the dispute said Thursday, potentially sparing a pillar of antidiscrimination law from being overruled by the high court’s majority conservatives.

The case, currently scheduled for Supreme Court argument in December, involves a development plan in Mount Holly, N.J., where local authorities bulldozed a largely minority neighborhood in order to build higher-priced modern housing. While township officials declared the Mount Holly Gardens neighborhood blighted, dozens of residents sued, alleging the project was discriminatory under the federal Fair Housing Act.

Bob Tigar, a plaintiff in the case who bought his home in Mount Holly Gardens in 1979, said he has received terms of the tentative settlement. Mr. Tigar, a tow-truck driver, said he believed the deal would be good for him because he would receive a new house to replace his old one rather than simply getting cash.

Another person directly involved in the talks confirmed that the sides have reached a tentative settlement.

Someone should dig to see if this pressure happened again?

If the settlement is approved, it will be the second time in two years that a last-minute deal deprived conservatives of the chance to challenge a longstanding civil-rights doctrine before a Supreme Court sympathetic to their arguments. Last year, the justices were poised to hear a similar case from St. Paul, Minn., but St. Paul settled under pressure from the Obama administration before the high court heard oral argument.

Update: Maybe the Court can decide it anyway. It’s capable of repetition yet evading review!