Monday, February 13, 2012

Saint Paul Takes a Dive

WSJ editorial on how the City of St. Paul caved when it counted:

The prospect of losing this political hammer against banks sent the feds scrambling to stop the St. Paul case. Justice, HUD and former Vice President and Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale counseled the city, which is run by Democrats, against pursuing the case.

St. Paul released a statement Friday saying it "likely would have won" at the Supreme Court but that "such a result could completely eliminate 'disparate impact' civil rights enforcement, including under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This would undercut important and necessary civil rights cases throughout the nation. The risk of such an unfortunate outcome is the primary reason the city has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition."

To sum up: St. Paul has spent taxpayer money for almost a decade fighting a case to force slumlords to provide the poor—including minorities—with better housing. But just as it was on the cusp of what it claims would have been a victory at the Supreme Court, the city withdrew its appeal under pressure from the Obama Administration and liberals who feared they might lose a weapon of dubious legality that they want to use to tell banks how and to whom to lend.

It's enough to recall the old joke that liberals love the poor in theory—it's the actual poor they have a problem with.