As we previously reported, settlement discussions are underway in Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc.  On June 17, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case and agreed to decide whether disparate impact claims are permissible under the Fair Housing Act. 

According to a Politico report, the Township of Mount Holly has hired Washington, D.C. lawyer Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin to represent it in the case.  Carter has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, including several cases in which I worked as co-counsel with Carter.  We understand that the plaintiffs have also hired a Supreme Court advocate to represent them but have not disclosed the attorney’s name.  Ballard Spahr is representing one of the defendants in the case. 

At the Township’s request, the Supreme Court extended the merits briefing schedule to give the Township and the plaintiffs until, respectively, August 26 and October 21, 2013 to file their merits briefs.  It would be imprudent to conclude from the parties’ decisions to hire Supreme Court advocates that they do not expect the case to settle.  However, a reasonable  conclusion would appear to be that the parties believe a settlement may not be reached before their merits briefs are due.