Conservative Group Attempts To Stop Reparation Payments In Evanston

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Evanston's historic reparations program is facing a class action lawsuit, WTTW reports.

The city had established a reparations program to address the housing discrimination and segregation in Evanston in the 1900s. The original program included distributing $25,000 to eligible Black households for home repairs, down payments, or interest or late penalties owed to the city.

Officials expanded the program to dole out cash payments to Black residents to use at their discretion.

However, a lawsuit alleges that the city's reparation program violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by using "race as an eligibility requirement."

“In this instance, the program does not limit eligibility to people who have actually experienced discrimination,” Christine Svenson, one of the attorneys representing plaintiffs from the conservative nonprofit Judicial Watch, said. “More race-neutral means could have been utilized by the city of Evanston, insofar as they could have asked for people to provide proof of housing discrimination, and they did not, so it’s overly broad.”

Svenson added that the Supreme Court has ruled “that they are not in the business of remedying societal discrimination.”

Justin Hansford, a Howard University law professor, pointed out the flaws in the 14th Amendment argument.

“The two mistakes in that thinking are No. 1, the mistake of feeling that the 14th Amendment is asking that we blind ourselves to reality and pretend that racism can be addressed through colorblindness,” Hansford said in a statement. “And I think that is not the original intent of the 14th Amendment.”

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