The Yale Law Journal

March 2020

A Federal Builder’s Remedy for Exclusionary Zoning

Housing LawConstitutional Law

abstract. This Note proposes a new remedy to the age-old problem of exclusionary zoning. Specifically, the Note proposes a federal builder’s remedy that provides judicial relief when a local government—motivated by a desire to block in-migration of the poor, whether for social or fiscal reasons—denies a builder’s proposal to build low-income housing. Fortunately, the doctrinal foundation for such a remedy already exists in Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence. After describing the doctrinal case, this Note makes the normative case for this builder’s remedy.

author. Yale Law School, J.D. expected 2020; Princeton University, B.A. 2011. I am deeply grateful to Carol M. Rose for her guidance, feedback, and encouragement throughout this project; to David N. Kinsey, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Mark A. Willis, Vicki Been, Raju Mann, Vikki Barbero, Steven Barshov, and Anika Singh Lemar for their education on land use and affordable housing; to Jamal Greene for providing a superb foundation in constitutional law; to Peter Damrosch, David N. Schleicher, Robert C. Ellickson for feedback on this Note’s proposal; to my family for their support; and to the editors of the Yale Law Journal, especially Simon Brewer, Rosa Hayes, Briana M. Clark, and Ela A. Leshem, for their outstanding help in developing and editing this Note.