Dallas Morning News editorial: High court must not perpetuate segregation

In a strongly worded editorial the Dallas Morning News has called on the US Supreme Court to reject the State of Texas plea to overturn disparate impact in the ICP lawsuit.

The effect was to corral minorities inside existing ghettos. True, the new construction offered a temporary boost to downtrodden neighborhoods. But because of inherent flaws in the tax-credit system, over time the urban-decay problems have tended to surface again and again as new projects age and lose their shine. Instead of renewing neighborhoods, these tax-credit decisions have perpetuated segregation and deterred balanced development between northern and southern Dallas.

…The injustice of this situation should weigh heavily in the court’s deliberations. Hard-fought civil rights gains won since the landmark 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling are at stake in this decision.

If the justices rule that challengers like ICP must prove racist intent, it will impose an almost insurmountable hurdle. Rare are the times when state housing authorities publicly divulge their innermost, true motives on where they place their projects.

Although this newspaper certainly cares if a racist intent exists, what most matters is the effect on neighborhoods. A Supreme Court ruling supporting the state could allow authorities to restore outdated policies that effectively ensure perpetuation of segregated pockets of poverty.

… In our view, segregation is the greater evil. Not only would a favorable ruling for the state harm civil rights, it would seriously erode efforts to bridge Dallas’ north-south gap.