As civil rights groups line up in opposition to a new HUD rule, a legal strategy emerges.
On Monday, protesters in Chicago jeered Ben Carson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A member of a grassroots seniors organization also interrupted his speech. It was Carson’s first public appearance since he issued a delay in a key rule for advancing fair housing and confronting racial segregation, and the resistance may only be getting started.
On Friday, 76 national organizations that focus on faith, civil rights, affordable housing, and social justice released a joint objection over HUD’s decision. The department, the statement said, is “abrogating its duty to carry out the mission Congress assigned it 50 years ago”—a reference to the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Advocates have argued that Carson has effectively suspended the government’s obligation by delaying the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule set in place in 2015. This isn’t the first time that Carson has tried to postpone an Obama-era housing rule: A similar maneuver was struck down in federal court in December. Housing advocates are now hoping HUD’s move on the AFFH final rule will meet a similar fate.