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January 20, 2015  

U.S. Supreme Court to Rule on Federal, State Housing Segregation Policies

The Police Chokehold: When Is A Lynching Not A Lynching?

The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments tomorrow in the closely watched Inclusive Communities Project v. Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs case, which will decide whether the federal government and states can continue to implement policies that “perpetuate or exacerbate racial segregation in housing,” even without intent.

Richard Rothstein, a research associate with the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute and senior fellow of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law, is our guest. He explains the significance of the case, why a large group of housing scholars, historians and activists have filed a friend-of-the-court brief seeking to end government-subsidized housing segregation, and the formidable legal obstacles that must be overcome in order to score a victory for fairness in housing.


Last Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to veto any legislation the City Council passes to make chokeholds illegal. Current NYPD policy banning chokeholds is sufficient, de Blasio said, and training will further reduce its use by police officers. Councilman Rory Lancman, who sponsored a chokehold bill, says he has enough votes to override de Blasio’s veto. Lancman’s legislation, however, will make the use of a chokehold a misdemeanor.

“Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr. contends that all sides in the legislative facedown—de Blasio, the City Council and the police unions—are skirting the real issue about chokeholds. By legal definition, he argues, chokeholds are a form of lynching and should be dealt as such by the law.

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