Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Corp Case Brief

Summary of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Corp

Citation: 429 U.S. 252

Relevant Facts: The Metropolitan Housing Development Corp. and the Village of Arlington Heights contracted to build racially integrated housing for individuals from low and moderate socioeconomic levels. The MHDC applied for zoning permits in order to start the building process and was denied by Arlington’s planning commission. The MHDC challenged the village’s zoning denial on the grounds that it was a form of racial discrimination. The matter was appealed after an adverse district court ruling by the Court of Appeals, and ultimately the Supreme Court decided to hear the case.

Issues: The legal question presented was whether the Village of Arlington Height’s denial of a zoning request was racially discriminatory and therefore in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Holding: The Supreme Court ruled that the denial could potentially be racially discriminatory, but that the MHDC had thus far failed to demonstrate that Arlington’s discrimination as alleged was intentional.

Reasoning: The Court reasoned that the MHDC failed to demonstrate that discrimination had actually occurred and that it was intentional, and even if it was proven to be intentional, there was no indication as to the purpose of that discrimination in terms of indicating a particular directed action against blacks in the community. As a result, the Court concluded that essentially, there was insufficient evidence to come to a definitive ruling, so it remanded the matter back to the lower courts.

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