WMFHA involved in Two Amici Curiae at the U.S. Supreme Court

Posted By: Nick Marin Advocacy News,

Over the last few months, WMFHA, under the National Apartment Association’s (NAA) lead and with support from other multi-family housing associations and housing providers (including Weidner Apartment Homes, GRE Downtowner LLC, and the Apartment Owners Association of California, Inc.), was given the opportunity to sign onto two (2) different Amici Curiae petitions to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) urging the body to review a lower court’s ruling on two very important housing related court cases originating in Washington State.

For quick context - an Amicus brief (pl. Amici Curiae), Latin for “friend of the court”, is a brief filed by an individual or group who is not party to an action in a lawsuit but has a strong interest in the issues presented.  Those who file an Amicus brief assist a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has potential bearing on the issues at hand.

The two cases in question – having worked their way up through the lower District courts and the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals for potential review from SCOTUS – are:

Question presented – Does the City of Seattle’s restrictions on private owners’ right to exclude potentially dangerous tenants from their property, through the passing of the “Fair Chance Housing Ordinance”, violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause?

Question presented – Questions the constitutionality of the COVID eviction moratorium under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Is an ordinance that compels the possession of property by an unwelcome occupant a categorical physical taking, or a permissible regulation of use? 

NAA’s interest in filing Amici Curiae in support for both the Yim (II) and El Papel lawsuits stems from the broad reach a potential review, and overturning, decision from SCOTUS could have on the national multi-family housing landscape, setting a positive precedent for our industry. 

Unfortunately, both Amici Curiae petitions were denied by SCOTUS.  Our Yim vs. Seattle petition was filed on November 13th and denied on January 22nd, and our El Papel vs. Seattle petition was filed on February 14th and denied on February 20th.

WMFHA values the opportunity to partner with NAA and other industry organizations in an effort to improve the multi-family industry and looks forward to continuing to explore additional political and legal opportunities that make our industry more equitable for housing providers.