Another Challenge to ADA - May 18, 2000

If you haven't heard about the Garrett case that will be heard before the Supreme Court in October - READ THIS and TAKE ACTION!

While we spend this summer celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the ADA, it is very possible our civil rights law could be ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL this fall is very possible.

Simply stated (I'm not a lawyer) the Supreme Court in the Garrett case will answer this critical question: Did Congress have the authority to do what it did when it passed the ADA or did Congress overstep its authority?

The the Supreme Court's answer will effect the lives of every one of the 52 million people with disabilities in this country.

This is not crying wolf - this is a direct attack on our civil rights.

If the Supreme Court rules against us, it could be a major step on the road to the complete gutting of the ADA. The recent cases on states rights have not been in our favor.

There are some things we all need to do right now that will assist our legal case and send a political message -`DON'T MESS WITH THE ADA!.

The lawyers - good and bad guys/gals - will file briefs for and against ADA this summer. We must make sure the Attorney General in our state does not sign on a brief (amicus) AGAINST the ADA. Where does our Governor stand on the ADA?

The time for action is now! Organize your community. If the ADA torch comes to your town, ask the Attorney General to support the ADA.

We must not wait until the fall.

The Minnesota Attorney General is writing a brief in SUPPORT OF THE ADA- Get your Attorney General to do the same or sign on the Minnesota brief. If they won't sign on FOR the ADA - get a commitment that they won't sign on any brief against the ADA.

The file in the next message from me has more detailed info.

We have come a long way in the 10 years since we battled to get ADA passed. We must continue the battle. We can recognize what we have accomplished in the past 10 years but we MUST link our celebration with a demand that our public officials SUPPORT THE ADA! This the most important challenge to our civil rights in the history of the disability movement. We have fought and won in Olmstead and we can win this too. But it will be a fight!


Campaign to Save the ADA

The Supreme Court has decided to hear another disability discrimination case -- Garrett v. University of Alabama -- that calls into question the constitutionality of the ADA. Oral argument most likely will occur in October, and the Court should issue its decision in early 2001. Garrett is actually two consolidated employment discrimination cases filed against the state of Alabama -- one involving a woman with breast cancer, the other involving a man with severe asthma. At issue in the Supreme Court case is whether Congress had the constitutional authority under the Fourteenth Amendment to enact the ADA. If the Supreme Court says Congress did not, individuals may no longer be able to enforce Titles I and II of the ADA against the states. More importantly, a negative ruling could call into question altogether the constitutionality of Title II of the ADA, as well as other disability rights statutes.

Garrett is the latest in a series of cases in which states have challenged Congress' power to enact legislation regulating state conduct. Most recently, the Supreme Court held in Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents that Congress did not have the authority to apply the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to the states. The Court found that the substantive requirements of the ADEA are "disproportionate to any unconstitutional conduct that conceivably could be targeted by the Act" and that extension of the ADEA to the states was an "unwarranted response to a perhaps inconsequential problem." In Garrett, states will be urging the Supreme Court to reach the same conclusion about the ADA.

What does this mean for people with disabilities? It means that, as early as January, 2001, individuals may no longer be able to sue state entities for violations of the ADA. Depending on the scope of the Supreme Court's ruling: