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Magner v. Gallagher

What Constitutes Housing Discrimination?


What’s at Stake

The Fair Housing Act is a critical tool that removes impediments to the ability of people to age in place in their homes and communities by allowing them to challenge all types of discrimination in the housing market. If the ability of those affected by discrimination to bring cases under a disparate impact theory were limited or ended, older people would no longer be able to challenge neutral policies that had clearly discriminatory affects based on disability, race or other protected classes. It would be harder to challenge many potentially illegal practices that limit their options for long term residential care and lives of dignity and independence as they age.

Disparate impact tests enable a wider range of workable long term care solutions in assisted living facilities, and other types of residences where people choose to live together or to have their services delivered. Discrimination against older residents and homeowners who are minorities and people with disabilities that impede their ability to age in their homes and communities are often dressed up in what appear to be neutral policies. The rights of these people are threatened unless disparate impact challenges under the FHA remain cognizable.

Status of the Case

Magner v. Gallagher was before the U.S. Supreme Court until it was withdrawn by petitioners.

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Find the most recent cases in which AFL has advocated in courts nationwide for the rights of older persons, and filed AARP’s amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs that help courts decide precedent-setting cases.

Strengthening Law and Policy through
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Our legal advocacy initiatives  - conducted by AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) - reflect more than 15 years of work in federal and state courts across the country. Through our efforts, we support the Foundation’s four priority areas: Hunger, Income, Housing and Isolation, and ensure that those 50 and older have a voice in the laws and policies that affect their daily lives.