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April 20, 1976



Stewart, Stevens, Marshall, Brennan, White.

Author: Stewart

[ 425 U.S. Page 286]

 MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been judicially found to have violated the Fifth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in connection with the selection of sites for public housing in the city of Chicago. The issue before us is whether the remedial order of the federal trial court may extend beyond Chicago's territorial boundaries.


This extended litigation began in 1966 when the respondents, six Negro tenants in or applicants for public housing in Chicago, brought separate actions on behalf of themselves and all other Negro tenants and applicants similarly situated against the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and HUD.*fn1 The complaint filed against CHA in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleged that between 1950 and 1965 substantially all of the sites for family public housing selected by CHA and approved by the Chicago City Council were "at the time of such selection, and are now," located "within the areas known as the Negro Ghetto." The respondents further alleged that CHA deliberately selected the sites to "avoid the placement of Negro families in white neighborhoods" in violation of federal statutes and the Fourteenth Amendment. In a companion suit against HUD the respondents claimed that it had "assisted in the carrying on and continues to assist in the carrying on of a racially discriminatory public housing system within the City of Chicago" by providing

[ 425 U.S. Page 287]

     financial assistance and other support for CHA's discriminatory housing projects.*fn2

The District Court stayed the action against HUD pending resolution of the CHA suit.*fn3 In February 1969, the court entered summary judgment against CHA on the ground that it had violated the respondents' constitutional rights by selecting public housing sites and assigning tenants on the basis of race.*fn4 Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority, 296 F. Supp. 907.

[ 425 U.S. Page 288]

     Uncontradicted evidence submitted to the District Court established that the public housing system operated by CHA was racially segregated, with four overwhelmingly white projects located in white neighborhoods and with 99 1/2% of the remaining family units located in Negro neighborhoods and 99% of those units occupied by Negro tenants. Id., at 910.*fn5 In order to prohibit future violations and to remedy the effects of past unconstitutional practices, the court directed CHA to build its next 700 family units in predominantly white areas of Chicago and thereafter to locate at least 75% of its new family public housing in predominantly white areas inside Chicago or in Cook County. Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority, 304 F. Supp. 736, 738-739.*fn6 In addition, CHA was ordered to modify its tenant-assignment and site-selection procedures and to use its best efforts to increase the supply of dwelling units as rapidly as possible in conformity with the judgment. Id., at 739-741.

[ 425 U.S. Page 289]

     The District Court then turned to the action against HUD. In September 1970, it granted HUD's motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and ordered the District Court to enter summary judgment for the respondents, holding that HUD had violated both the Fifth Amendment and § 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 252, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, by knowingly sanctioning and assisting CHA's racially discriminatory public housing program. Gautreaux v. Romney, 448 F.2d 731, 739-740.*fn7

On remand, the trial court addressed the difficult problem of providing an effective remedy for the racially segregated public housing system that had been created by the unconstitutional conduct of CHA and HUD.*fn8

[ 425 U.S. Page 290]

     The court granted the respondents' motion to consolidate the CHA and HUD cases and ordered the parties to formulate "a comprehensive plan to remedy the past effects of unconstitutional site selection procedures." The order directed the parties to "provide the Court with as broad a range of alternatives as seem... feasible" including "alternatives which are not confined in their scope to the geographic boundary of the City of Chicago." After consideration of the plans submitted by the parties and the evidence adduced in their support, the court denied the respondents' motion to consider metropolitan area relief and adopted the petitioner's

[ 425 U.S. Page 291]

     proposed order requiring HUD to use its best efforts to assist CHA in increasing the supply of dwelling units and enjoining HUD from funding family public housing programs in Chicago that were inconsistent with the previous judgment entered against CHA. The court found that metropolitan area relief was unwarranted because "the wrongs were committed within the limits of Chicago and solely against residents of the City" and there were no allegations that "CHA and HUD discriminated or fostered racial discrimination in the suburbs."

On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, with one judge dissenting, reversed and remanded the case for "the adoption of a comprehensive metropolitan area plan that will not only disestablish the segregated public housing system in the City of Chicago... but will increase the supply of dwelling units as rapidly as possible." 503 F.2d 930, 939. Shortly before the Court of Appeals announced its decision, this Court in Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717, had reversed a judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that had approved a plan requiring the consolidation of 54 school districts in the Detroit metropolitan area to remedy racial discrimination in the operation of the Detroit public schools. Understanding Milliken "to hold that the relief sought there would be an impractical and unreasonable overresponse to a violation limited to one school district," the Court of Appeals concluded that the Milliken decision did not bar a remedy extending beyond the limits of Chicago in the present case because of the equitable and administrative distinctions between a metropolitan public housing plan and the consolidation of numerous local school districts. 503 F.2d, at 935-936. In addition, the appellate court found that, in contrast to Milliken, there was evidence of suburban discrimination and

[ 425 U.S. Page 292]

     of the likelihood that there had been an "extra-city impact" of the petitioner's "intra-city discrimination." Id., at 936-937, 939-940. The appellate court's determination that a remedy extending beyond the city limits was both "necessary and equitable" rested in part on the agreement of the parties and the expert witnesses that "the metropolitan area is a single relevant locality for low rent housing purposes and that a city-only remedy will not work." Id., at 936-937. HUD subsequently sought review in this Court of the permissibility in light of Milliken of "inter-district relief for ...

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