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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In 1985, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of African-Americans against the Dallas Housing Authority for the authority’s continued racial segregation through the way it built and maintained public housing in Dallas. As part of a 1987 consent decree, DHA agreed to locate public housing in predominantly white areas. In 1994, after repeated breaches of the consent decree, DHA negotiated a remedial order again requiring DHA to construct public housing in predominantly white areas to remedy past segregation. To comply with this order, DHA chose the McCallum site and the Hillcrest Site. Homeowners in these two areas then sued DHA to enjoin construction, arguing that the remedial order violated their equal-protection rights. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s denial of the homeowners’ request for an injunction. The 5th Circuit held in 1999 that race-conscious remedies were not required to ameliorate segregative policies at DHA, and the order was not narrowly tailored. In 2001, the district court modified the 1994 order by removing all references to race in the selection of public housing sites, except to state that DHA could not discriminate against African-Americans. Because the order still required DHA to build some new public housing, DHA filed a motion to allow it to build on the Hillcrest Site. Again the local homeowners sued on equal-protection grounds. The district court granted DHA’s motion for approval of the Hillcrest Site, and the homeowners’ suit was dismissed with prejudice. HOLDING:Affirmed. For cases like this, where the challenged governmental action is facially race neutral, proof of racially discriminatory intent or purpose is required to show a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Here, the district court found that DHA did not consider race when deciding to build on the Hillcrest Site in 2001, and, regardless of any past improper considerations, DHA still would have built on the site because it is such an ideal location for public housing. These findings were plausible, and the homeowners did not produce evidence that the findings are clearly erroneous. The court also rejected the homeowners’ argument that DHA’s plan to build on the Hillcrest Site violated the 14th Amendment, because the site selection can be traced to its prior unconstitutional activity. OPINION:Fortunato P. Benavides, J.; Higginbotham, Smith and Benavides, JJ.

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