Texas housing tax credit fair housing case oral arguments before 5th Circuit Court include lively questions and answers

Yesterday’s oral arguments in the State of Texas’ appeal of the District Court’s ruling in the Inclusive Communities Project vs. Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals are now available as an audio recording.

Here is the Windows Media recoding from the 5th Circuit’s website.

The State of Texas appealed US District Judge Fitzwater’s ruling to the 5th Circuit finding that the State’s administration of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program in North Texas had a disparate impact on African-American persons under the United States Fair Housing Act.

Judge Edith Jones

Judge Edith Jones

The arguments before the three judge appeals panel are interesting. Most spirited is the questioning by Judge Edith Jones of ICP attorney Michael Daniel and Mr. Daniel’s rapid fire and spirited defense of the ruling by Judge Fitzwater. Based on the exchange, Judge Jones seemed largely alone in expressing skepticism over the District Court’s ruling.

In a matter that is not a point of law but an expression of a political attitude, Judge Jones criticized Mr. Daniel’s use of the term “segregation”. But the matter at hand is segregation regardless of whether the word leaves some uncomfortable or desiring to suppress the term.

Judge Jones brings her unique perspective to hearing this appeal. Her Wikipedia biography contains the following information…

A group of civil rights organizations and legal ethicists filed a complaint of misconduct against Jones on June 4, 2013, after she allegedly said that “racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime,” and are “prone to commit acts of violence” which are more “heinous” than members of other ethnic groups. According to the complaint, Jones also stated that a death sentence is a service to defendants because it allows them to make peace with God and she “referred to her personal religious views as justification for the death penalty”.

The complaints have been transferred for a rare full judicial review by order of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, and control of the ethics complaints against Jones was transferred by him to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.