University of Chicago Law Review


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The Fair Housing Act is a groundbreaking federal law enacted in 1968 during the civil rights movement. Reflecting a policy judgment that the public’s interest in eliminating housing discrimination outweighs a prejudicial landlord’s property right to exclude, it prohibits landlords from rejecting tenants on a discriminatory basis. However, as the Act’s promises remain in the process of fulfillment, the Supreme Court’s 2021 decision in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid has placed it into unprecedented danger: by holding that a regulation authorizing temporary occupations of private property constituted a per se taking that requires compensation under the Takings Clause, Cedar Point threatens the constitutionality of the Act, which grants tenants a similar temporary right to access rental properties.

This Comment takes up the task of finding an escape valve for the Act within the current legal landscape. Looking to Cedar Point’s Court-created exceptions, this Comment argues that the Act should fall under the “open to the public” exception because case law, common law considerations, and the normative value in preserving an important antidiscrimination law all support a finding that the Act regulates the business of offering dwelling rentals, a type of business open to the public.

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