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Supreme Court hears arguments on ADA constitutionality
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Oct. 10, 2000 --

Is the Americans with Disabilities Act a "proper exercise of Congress's power under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment?" That's the question the Supreme Court will take up on Wednesday in the case University of Alabama v. Garrett.

"[T]he Clinton administration, historians and disability rights advocates have mounted a major effort to document for the court the extent to which states themselves have discriminated against people with disabilities, from denial of access to polling places to involuntary institutionalization and even sterilization," wrote the New York Times's Linda Greenhouse in her Oct 2. overview of the fall Court term (full article at

For more background on this historical record of discrimination, go to

The Garrett case is really two cases that were combined at the trial level. Patricia Garrett sued the University of Alabama's medical center in Birmingham for demoting and then transferring her from her position as a supervising nurse after she was treated for breast cancer. In the other case, Milton Ash, a corrections officer with asthma, sued Alabama's youth corrections agency for failing to accommodate him by enforcing the agency's no-smoking rule and servicing the cars he is required to drive, which emit noxious fumes.

Watch for coverage of Wednesday's oral arguments from Greenhouse in the Times on Thursday. To read the New York Times online, go to (Free registration is required.)

Disability website coverage of the Alabama v. Garrett case can be found in numerous places, including these links:

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