RESPONDENT: Village of Bellwood
LOCATION: Butler Residence
DOCKET NO.: 77-1493
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
CITATION: 441 US 91 (1979)
ARGUED: Nov 29, 1978
DECIDED: Apr 17, 1979
F. Willis Caruso - for respondents
Jonathan T. Howe - for petitioners
Lawrence G. Wallace - argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging affirmance
Facts of the case
Media for Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of BellwoodAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 29, 1978 in Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 17, 1979 in Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:
The second case that I have to announce is Gladstone Realtors against the Village of Bellwood, Illinois.
This case involves a suit under Section 812 of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
The respondents in this Court were the plaintiffs below, they are the Village of Bellwood and certain of its residence, the petitioners here who were defendants in this suit are Bellwood real estate brokers and their employees.
The complain alleged that the real estate firms contrary to the provisions of the Fair Housing Act were steering perspective home purchasers away from integrated sections of the village and indeed, some white home buyers were being stirred away from Bellwood to neighborhood communities.
The case is before us not on its merits but on the threshold question whether the plaintiffs have standing to bring this suit since none of them personally was attempting to purchase a home.
They were however residents of Bellwood and together with the village wished to preserve its integrated composition.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the plaintiffs did have standing to sue.
We agree and today affirm that decision.
In the Court's opinion filed with the clerk this morning, we addressed both the question of standing under Article III of the constitution and a statutory question whether Section 812 of the Act contemplated suits such as this.
As our analysis of these questions, it cannot be summarized briefly.
I will say only that in an earlier case, Trafficante against the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, we sustained standing under Section 810 of the Act of plaintiffs who wish to preserve the integrated character of a large apartment complex.
We conclude today that much of the reasoning in our decision with respect to Section 810 applies also to this action brought under Section 812.
We think that the Village of Bellwood, a municipality and its residents who instituted this suit, have averred actual injury as a result of the racial steering allegedly practice by the real estate firms.
Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion in which Mr. Justice Stewart has joined.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you, Mr. Justice Powell.