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Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker

Citation. Dep’t of Hous. v. Rucker, 535 U.S. 125, 122 S. Ct. 1230, 152 L. Ed. 2d 258, 70 U.S.L.W. 4206 (U.S. Mar. 26, 2002)
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Brief Fact Summary.

A Congressional act allowed the eviction of parties caught using drugs.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

“42 U. S. C. Section:1437d(l)(6) unambiguously requires lease terms that vest local public housing authorities with the discretion to evict tenants for the drug- related activity of household members and guests whether or not the tenant knew, or should have known, about the activity.”


Respondents are residents of housing projects. Each was evicted after their respective relatives were found to be using drugs in the houses, despite having signed lease agreements that made them subject to eviction if they or those living with them used drugs, with or without their knowledge.


Whether “this statute requires lease terms that allow a local public housing authority to evict a tenant when a member of the tenant’s household or a guest engages in drug-related criminal activity, regardless of whether the tenant knew, or had reason to know, of that activity.”


Yes. The Supreme Court of the United States (the Supreme Court) focused on the “plain language” statute, as well as the legislative history, and found ample evidence that Congress had meant precisely that. It chastised the lower courts that had found otherwise.


Plain language is a critical means of discerning the intent of a statute. CHAPTER IX. Obtaining Judicial Review: Access to Court to Challenge Agency Action or Inaction.

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