Monthly Archives: November 2016

Cities As Victims

On Tuesday, November 8th, there was other news besides the shocking election of Donald Trump as President.

The US Supreme Court reviewed a lawsuit brought by the city of Miami, FL against banks  Wells Fargo and Bank of America, claiming that, under the Fair Housing Act (part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968), the banks’ negligence and prejudice was responsible for the area’s 2008 housing market collapse.

Specifically, the suit claims that subprime mortgages given to minorities contributed to falling property values, lost property tax revenue, and foreclosures and the crimes those vacant properties can bring.

A successful case like this has the potential to set a precedent of municipalities using laws intended only for individuals.

The justices’ discussion was wide-ranging, from questioning if the effects were too remote, to acknowledging the cumulative effects of bank actions on the city and public.

“The statute doesn’t prohibit decreasing property tax values, ” said Justice Kennedy.

As reported in the NYTimes, “A 4-4 tie in the Supreme Court, which seemed a viable prospect on Tuesday, would leave the appeals court’s ruling in place, handing a victory to Miami but setting no national precedent.”

So, do you think an entire town or city can claim victimhood by corporations?

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