Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

N.Y.U. Journal of Legislation & Public Policy


On October 12, 2005, the Southern District of New York ruled that the New York State Attorney General was enjoined from enforcing state laws prohibiting discriminatory lending against national banks.1 The court found in favor of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the federal regulator of national banks. The OCC claimed that while state fair lending laws had not been preempted, the New York State Attorney General’s (OAG) authority to enforce those laws had been preempted by a series of federal statutes and OCC-written regulations that give the OCC exclusive authority to bring any enforcement action against national banks.2 In other words, the OCC, a federal agency, claimed that authority to enforce non-pre- emptied state fair lending laws against national banks rested exclusively within its office. Such enforcement preemption is otherwise unheard of in United States law3 and raises serious federalism questions as well as concerns regarding the relationship between agency regulations and federal statutes.

Published Citation

Laguardia, Francesca S. "Enforcing the Fair Housing Act: Can Agency Interpretations Override Congressional Intent in Anti-Discrimination Legislation." NYUJ Legis. & Pub. Pol'y 9 (2005): 535.