Feb 12

The city of St Paul withdrew their petition to have the US Supreme Court intervene and stop the case over their alleged discriminatory housing code enforcement. This, less than three weeks before the Court was to hear oral arguments.

From an article in the St Paul Star Tribune:

[The plaintiff-landlord] did not respond to requests for comment, but his lawyers have argued in court that he and other inner-city landlords were targeted for aggressive code enforcement primarily because they rent to low-income and minority tenants in aging neighborhoods that some would rather see gentrified. His lead attorney, John Shoemaker, said the effect of the city crackdown was to shut down properties, increase costs and limit the supply of affordable housing in the Twin Cities.

There is a lively discussion of this on Ademocracy, a St Paul based political blog.  If you are interested in the case, you should peruse that discussion

After reading the amici briefs it was clear that St Paul could not be allowed to win at the Supreme Court. To have won would have undone 40 years of Fair Housing and Equal Rights legislation and court cases.  I’m pretty sure someone smarter than St Paul’s current legal staff sat them down and explained all of this to them.

St. Paul now boasts that “it will be successful in defending its code enforcement actions in any court” 

Hmm, if that is so then why did St Paul try so hard to avoid trial by going to the US Supreme Court after a Court of Appeals decision to let the case go forward?  Remember that this case is in its eight or ninth year and has already had a major impact on St Paul’s budget.

Ironically St Paul is now having listening sessions with landlords to try and work out arrears of contention.  Perhaps they should have taken this approach a decade ago.

I predict a settlement is imminent.

Hats off to Frank and the others for having the fortitude to stay the course for all these years.

One Response to “Update: St Paul Abruptly Withdraws Supreme Court Petition”

  1. Thanks for spending the time to share this, I enjoy reading more about this.

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