The Mount Laurel Doctrine was considered one of the most significant civil rights cases in the United States since Brown v. Board of Education because it sought to correct the economic injustices and discrimination within housing.
The New Jersey State Supreme Court passed Mount Laurel I(1975) and Mount Laurel II (1983) because of economic discrimination in housing.
In 1975, the local government of Mount Laurel Township used its leadership to manipulate the planning of home development and attempted to implement zoning regulations. Zoning was meant to accommodate wealthier families and separate them from lower income social classes. Zoning regulations rejected affordable housing options for lower-income residents, which left people unable to afford the cost of their homes. The Township separated the low-income zones into three areas. However, these areas were in wetland, hazardous areas and were unsafe to the wellbeing of all humans. The zoning sections did not provide realistic living opportunities and therefore resulted in another Court decision in 1983.
The New Jersey Supreme Court developed The Fair Housing Act and declared the actions and regulations in the Mount Laurel were unconstitutional.
All people deserve to be sheltered and go to a school that meets a certain standard. The actions leading up to both Brown v. Board of Education and the Mount Laurel cases disproportionately segregated equally deserving people. The income of a certain individual should not determine if that person’s opportunities are limited, nor should income condemn the person to live in a polluted area or become excluded from receiving fundamental rights.
By Ellen Callahan